by Gerry McFlynn
Pax Christi UK
A Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter…
The Acts of the Apostles is the only New Testament book of which we can claim authorship. The Gospels describe the life of Jesus; they contain his Will and Testament and we are the executors of that Will. The letters of the Apostles explain how that life should be lived. Acts tells us how those first followers of Jesus did, in fact, live it.
It describes how they tried to make sense of the large print of his words about things like – losing one’s life in order to save it, turning the other cheek, sharing one’s goods, going the extra mile, to say nothing of loving one’s enemies! It also gives an account of the enormous joy and hope unleashed in them. And it is a story that has not ended, for every Christian life is a chapter in this Book – our family album!
A striking feature of the lifestyle of those first followers was their refusal to engage with militarism or any other “ism” that militated against the wellbeing of another human being. They believed that God’s Spirit of love had been poured out on everyone. In fact, they became known for the love they had for everyone, a love that manifested itself in their care for the poor, the weak and marginalised in society.
Acts describes a nonviolent, caring and compassionate lifestyle and shows how, even in our complicated and violent world, it is still possible to live such a life. As Easter People, we are challenged to live the same Spirit-filled life as those first followers. We do this in another time, in a different world. We have to do in our world NOW what those first Christians did in their world THEN.
Gerry McFlynn is a member of our Nonviolence Working Group, a priest and project manager for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas. You can read all of Pax Christi UK’s post-Easter Sunday reflections here.