thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings may be found here
One of my favorite words in the New Testament is “koinonia,” which may be translated as partnership, fellowship, or communion. The early Church revealed this reality in its powerful witness of shared life and cooperation. There are certainly individuals who stand out in the story: Peter, Stephen, Barnabas, Paul, and many others. But there is also the truth that these individuals all drew others into the mission with them. Paul is probably the best example as his letters so frequently mention his partners in mission. In a culture where people were divided into camps and suspicious of strangers, these Christians stood out in their capacity to work with and for one another. In the first reading we learn of the rapid effects of early Christian preaching and ministry. Their authenticity was found in the quality of their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus. As the Lord Himself proclaims in the passage today from John: “the Father and I are one.” It is from that Divine communion of love that the life and ministry of the Church flowed.
We live in a time when the communion of the Church has been damaged by sins against love and trust. The last two decades have seen suspicion, recrimination, and division. The path to healing runs through the renewal of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. In the life of the early Church and in the lives of the Saints in every generation communion with the Lord always overflows into compassion and love with and for one another. Our shared baptismal call summons us to repentance, faith, and the mission of living and announcing the Good News.
I love that word koinonia: it is a beautiful word because it captures both the Divine gift of a new relationship with God by the grace of the Lord Jesus and the effects of that relationship, drawing us into partnership with one another.