May 6, 2021 – Thursday of the 5th Week of Easter
Acts 15: 7-21, John 15: 9-11
“God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting [the gentiles] the Holy Spirit just as he did us” (Acts 15:8). God who knows our hearts is right here right now. He is present to us in his word, and in the breaking of the Bread. It remains for us to open our hearts to His life-creating Spirit. As the Fire of Divine Love enflames us, we will become proclaimers of the Good News to people wandering in the valley of darkness and gloom. Saint Paul described the situation well: “At one time we too were stupid, disobedient, and foolish, as well as being slaves to all kinds of cravings and pleasures. We spent and wasted our lives in malice and envy, being hated by others and hating one another” (Tit. 3:3). Saint John reminds us that our hope is in God. “Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts. He knows all things because nothing is hidden from Him” (1 Jn. 3:20).
The isolation imposed by the pandemic is having devastating effects on people. Because they lack healthy social interaction, they tend to focus on themselves, their failings, and tragedies. At these moments, they get all wrapped up in the downward spiral of guilt and shame. They get stuck, only focusing on how flawed and sinful they are. The deeper they sink into the darkness, the more desperate and depressed they become. It is at moments like these that we are brought to our knees because there is nothing else to do. At that moment, we can turn our gaze away from ourselves and set it on the face of Christ. Even before we ask, the Lord turns his gaze towards us and says: “Come to me, all you who are tired from carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28).
The Lord is inviting us to make our resting place in his sacred heart. To find the passage that leads to his heart, we need to approach his pierced side. To find his pierced side, we have to stand beneath the arms of his cross. As we stand under the shadow of the cross, Christ will draw us to himself (CF. Jn. 12:32). He who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6), will be the pathway to our heavenly homeland. Bathed in the stream of life-creating waters flowing from the Savior’s side, our hearts and consciences will be purified from the burdens of guilt and shame. Because Christ’s love is superabundant, we should immerse ourselves in it and allow it to flow through us to all we meet. “We can ask to think like [Christ], to act like him, to see the world, and to see things with Jesus’ eyes. And in this way, to love our brothers and sisters, starting from the poorest and those who suffer the most, as he did, and to love them with his heart and to bring to the world fruits of goodness, charity, and peace” (Pope Francis). We are invited to see our time and energy as gifts from God. And because we have received them as gifts, we should share them with others as gifts (cf. Mat. 10:8).