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Back The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Friday, May 8, 2020
In the book of Exodus, after God’s enables Moses to free the chosen people from Egypt’s slavery state and move them into the desert, people continually come to Moses for advice and decisions about personal and family matters. Moses has such a unique relationship with the one, true and living God that they all wished him to consult God for them. In Chapter Eighteen of the book of Exodus, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro came to him and advised him that he would “wear himself out,” if he were the only voice of advice and authority among the people. Jethro lovingly advised that Moses secure a number of wise men among the people, train them and give them the task of judgment in most matters. Cases that were too difficult for them, they then could refer to Moses himself. This Moses did.
In the Gospel of John this weekend, Jesus assures His disciples at the Last Supper, that He would go and prepare a place for them, then return and take them to Himself. So that where He is, they also may be.
As time marched on in the life of the early community, after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Church waited and waited for the “second coming” of the Savior in Glory. While the early church waited, it grew in numbers of believers so much so. that it needed more leadership and administration.
This weekend’s Biblical passage from the Acts of the Apostles, often called the Fifth Gospel, or the Good News of the Early Church, the Apostles seek a solution to their leadership vacuum. Their numbers were growing and the need for “hands on leadership” made preaching the Word and enlarging the ministry of Evangelization difficult. In a like manner of the chosen persons Moses appointed and God anointed for leadership, the Apostles chose seven wise men from among their number. These they prayed over with the “laying on of hands” and entrusted to them the tasks at hand.
This particular passage, from the Acts of the Apostles, is often cited as the foundation of the role and selection of Deacons for the early Church. The “laying on of hands” mentioned, then becomes a sign of the sacramental presence of the Lord in what would be named “Holy Orders.”
In our own day and age, as the number of priests available for ministry as administers and pastors decrease, often Permanent Deacons, their wives and families are chosen to lead certain parishes and administer the day to day needs of the community. We give thanks to God Almighty who has called many to the role and function of Deacon within our churches. Here at Nativity, we are enriched by the ministry of three permanent Deacons. As Pastor, I rely upon them and they function as most valued contributors to our Parish Pastoral Team. May the Lord continue to strengthen them and their families as they faithfully continue their ministry among the people of God, here at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.