Praying Towards Sunday

Easter Season Discernment

We are approaching the end of the Easter season. Throughout the season we have been discerning once more what Easter means to us and how the resurrection changes who we are and what our life should be as an individual and as a community. Easter season helps us to discern from the perspective of resurrection how God is calling us and what God is calling us to be and to do.

We are often amazed that most of apostles immediately dropped what they were doing when Jesus called them to follow him. However, discernment is rather a difficult task. In the reading of the Acts assigned to this coming Sunday, when the disciples needed to fill the spot vacated by Judas, it becomes clear that discernment is not an easy process. Jesus has not called the next apostle; it is up to the community to act.

Discernment is a difficult but necessary process. Without it, we would not be able to know how to follow the path that has been set before us or to use the gifts God gave us to do what we have been called to do. The reading of the Gospel of John for this coming Sunday offers some guidelines for us to consider. It is a portion of what is called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. It is after supper “in the night in which He was betrayed.” Jesus is praying for his disciples, and for us. He prays for our unity, for our joy, for our protection, and for our sanctification. Jesus says that we are not of the world, but that we should nonetheless remain in the world – for our ministry is to be in the world and for the world. His prayer brings to mind the particular outcomes we seek in a discernment process, especially when taken in the context of this post-Easter period: new life of resurrection.

This new life might be best understood as modeling our lives after Jesus’ life and living the gospel imperative to love our neighbors as ourselves. Without love, there will be no unity nor joy. That is why God gave his only begotten son to be fully human, so that he might bring the world back onto the path.

We Christians must see ourselves as sanctified, holy, and sacred beings, knowing that God made us whole and holy from the very beginning, uniquely blessed us with all the gifts we need to be God’s reflection in the world. We must live in this way to make it possible for others to see our gifts and to see God in us. We should put Jesus’ prayer at the center of our own discernment process, seeking to be on the right path, coming to understand this path after considering every angle, seeking to understand it through the lens of resurrection. Then God’s love will most certainly set us apart.

As we approach Pentecost, let us be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let us move from the joy of Easter as a re-creation of new life with the hope that guides us all to be God’s love in the world.