Sixth Sunday of Easter
Karen Brink, OSB, St Benedict Monastery, Pittsburgh, PA
In last Sunday’s gospel for the fifth week of Easter, Jesus promised those who follow him that they would do “greater works” than those that he, Jesus, had done. The Church followed that gospel with the reading from the Acts of the Apostles this week with some examples of the disciples doing “greater works.”
Philip is found in Samaria doing the same kind of works that Jesus did, driving out demons and curing paralyzed and crippled people. He was proclaiming the message of Christ by his words and his works. He is doing greater works. Peter and John followed Philip and laid hands on the people, and they received the Holy Spirit just as they themselves had received the Spirit previously.
This week’s responsorial psalm invites us to “let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”
Our community is celebrating our 150th year of our foundation, August 29, 1870 – August 29, 2020. And as I read items from our archives I also reflected on greater works. Being a part of the community for a little over one-third of its history I know many of those works. Some very amazing greater works have been observable to the watchful eye since my entrance in 1963. But we had a history before me, and I celebrate the greater works of our foremothers. Their service to others was filled with love and humility, sorrow and pain, hardship and happiness, errors and successes, all a part of life.
When we opened our celebration on August 29, 2019, I concluded the reflection by inviting our community and guests to walk into our future awaiting the new things that divinity had in store for us. Little did I suspect what even the immediate future held.
Our year of celebration has been interrupted by the COVID 19 pandemic and yet we are invited to “let all the earth cry out to God with joy!” As I watch the news, I do see hints of the earth crying out with joy. Families visiting relatives and friends in nursing homes and blowing kisses through the windows and the resident smiling with wondering amazement. Hundreds of volunteers packing boxes of food for distribution to those arriving in their cars to accept this sustenance. The disease is awful and each of us is affected in one way or another by it. Perhaps our greater works can be the phone call, the note, the kind word, the extra effort to assist and our little corner of the world can “cry out to the Lord with joy.”
Perhaps we can take a bit of time and reflection as we come to the end of the Easter season to be grateful because we have been called to greater works and to call for a blessing on all those who have crossed our paths and blessed us.
Sister Karen Brink is currently the prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh having served on monastic councils and initial and on-going formation teams. She also has extensive experience as a school administrator and as a member of parish teams. Her experience as director of RCIA teams led her to reflection on Scripture, especially the Sunday readings. She invites you to "break open" God's Word once again.