Today’s First Reading: Acts 6:1-7 – 2nd WEEK OF EASTER: Saturday, 4 May 2019
It was the Church’s first internal challenge. Some of the “Hellenist” widows (Jewish women from outside of Jerusalem who spoke Greek) began to complain that they were being overlooked. Faced with this potentially divisive situation, the apostles decided that they simply couldn’t address every problem that was sure to come up in so large and diverse a group. So they began to delegate many of the concerns to a few men recognized as filled with the Holy Spirit and deeply committed to the Lord. That way, the apostles would be free to spend the time in “prayer and the ministry of word” that they needed to (Acts 6:4).
It may sound like a minor incident, but the way Luke (the writer of Acts) describes this situation reveals a very important truth: The privilege of a close relationship with Jesus is not limited to just a few. It is true that not everyone is called to be an apostle or a deacon. Not everyone is able to spend hours in prayer each day. Many of us are called to vocations in the marketplace or the home, and our time is much more limited. But we shouldn’t conclude that it’s not possible for us to develop as intimate a relationship with Jesus as the apostles experienced.
God knows that a number of different callings are necessary if the Church is going to be an effective witness to the power of God. And He’s not about to let anyone’s calling keep her or him from His love. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1621) understood this point, and so he counseled many people whose work placed heavy demands upon them.:
“You tell me that you do not have the time to give two or three hours to prayer; who asks you to do so? Recommend yourself to God the first thing in the morning, protest that you do not wish to offend Him, and then go about your affairs, resolved, nevertheless, to raise your spirit to God, even amidst company. Who can prevent you from speaking to Him in the depth of your heart, since it makes no difference whether you speak to Him mentally or vocally? (Sermons on Prayer).
Jakarta, 4 May 2019
A Christian Pilgrim