The Easter readings at Mass these days are mostly from two sources. Our gospels, from the Gospel of John, invite us to the supper room where Jesus speaks words of peace and comfort to his troubled, fearful disciples before he goes to his death.
“Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you,” he says in today’s gospel. “ Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” He promises to return and take us to our true homeland. His words are calm and powerfully assuring.
The readings from the Acts of the Apostles, on the other hand, describe a world that’s fast-changing and challenging. Quite different from the hushed supper room that seems to be outside time itself. As Paul and Barnabas begin their epic journey into the gentile world they meet with amazing success as they go from place to place. In today’s reading, they proclaim the gospel and cure some in Lystra andDerbe. Their excited hearers think they’re gods from heaven and the two missionaries can hardly restrain them from offering them sacrifice.
But success quickly turns dangerous when “some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.”
That same pattern would be repeated for Paul and others all through their missionary journey. Some days were godlike; others brought them to the brink of death.
That same pattern marks our lives too. Maybe no stones are thrown at us–yet. But if we follow Jesus we will also know the mystery of his death and resurrection.
That’s why we need to enter the supper room every day. We don’t journey on alone. Jesus who says he is the way, the truth and the life, goes with us.
We need his gift of peace.