Greetings on this the Saturday of the Second Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 6:1-7; PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; Jn 6:16-21
Note: This reading today has a personal connection to me.
Job title: Reverend Deacon.
Needed: Reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom.
Further qualifications in the letter to Timothy include: must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
Tasks: These men, whom we shall appoint, are to perform the task of bringing peace within the various factions of the Church. Special attention to be made for widows, orphans and all women who were maltreated by men and neglected by the community.
Success Criteria: The Apostles (Bishops) will be more free to devote themselves to prayer
and to the ministry of the word.
Search Committee: the whole community.
Candidate List: They discerned and then presented these 7 reputable men to the Apostles.
The Seven: Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
The Twelve: Accepted the choice of the people and they prayed and laid hands on them.
Divine Effect: The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
It really is a lovely story and full of promise. One can argue the merits of its continued success and effects. We’ve got 2 thousand years of examples both good and bad.
It is held up as an example of several things:
- The people of God have the wisdom of the spirit to discern.
- The people shall have a hand in deciding who leads them.
- The deacons are specifically to help the Bishops and their priests in their mission.
- Evaluation: Did the deacon help the Bishops in their life of prayer and Word?
- Evaluation: Did the Bishop use wisely the deacon so as to spread the word and grow the Church in faith?
One can panic about now. It would be a natural response to the reflection above.
However, this is a part of the divine plan. The people and her ministers working together to bring about the Kingdom of God.
We are in a boat in tumultuous seas. I cannot imagine a noisier world than today. People are begging for peace and designing any number of ways to get even just a bit of natural peace and tranquility.
Even still people seem to be afraid of God. He acts and does things different than what we expect of him. People are disappointed in their Bishops, priests and deacons. Well, yes, that makes sense depending on where you live and what you experienced.
Thankfully, much more positive effects are reported again and again.
Jesus says, It is I. Do not be afraid.
They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore
to which they were heading.
Jesus is the calm of our Seas. Jesus keeps us safe in the Ark of the Church.
Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe. Jesus is in control.
Peace be with you,