Seventh Sunday of Easter


We must choose someone
who has been with us the whole time
that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us
... and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.
(Acts 1:21-22)

Christianity is not etched in stone; it’s etched on people’s hearts. It needs to be constantly proclaimed in fresh ways and the only people who can bear witness to it are those whose hearts have been sealed by the Spirit in baptism and confirmation. Each day God calls you and me to be a new Matthias, someone who has experienced the power of Jesus and can tell others about it.

Lord Jesus, you watch over us so that not one of us may be lost:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ Jesus, you reveal to us the truth that comes from your Father:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you send us into the world to bear witness to your triumph on the cross:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
May almighty God have mercy on us, consecrate us in all truth, forgive us our sins and lead us to everlasting life.

In Spain the police have a special van that attends the scenes of crime or accidents. The job of this “Atestados” van is to collect evidence from witnesses to the incident. So after a car accident anyone at all can get into the van and give their version of what actually took place, not just the drivers.
In today’s scriptures we hear how the apostles were looking for someone to take the place of Judas. They wanted someone who had experienced Jesus’s life and teaching, and who could “act with us as a witness to his resurrection”.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the message of Jesus will only continue to be proclaimed if ordinary people like you and I are prepared to stick our necks out, to stand up and be counted. For Christianity is not the domain of the professionals. Bishops, priests and deacons have a special role to play in proclaiming the gospel, but the brunt of the job lies with the millions of lay men and women who meet the world daily at the coal-face. Just like the “Atestados” van, everyone is expected to give their account, not just the drivers or the professionals.
Yet this job of witnessing to the power of Jesus in our lives, to the joy that can be shared by anyone who comes to know Jesus personally, is not such a daunting thing. It can begin with some very simple steps like not being ashamed of our beliefs. We need to be proud of what we are and to act in such a way that our neighbours at least know we have faith in something. We need to live out a set of values that sometimes puts us at a disadvantage, perhaps even making us the butt of people’s jokes or jibes. Of course, if our religion is nothing more than prohibitions and negativity then people will have a right to question it. If, however, we are able to show the world that the pattern of life offered by Christ can bring fulfilment and can satisfy where other things fail to make a mark, then people might begin to wonder what exactly it is that we Christians have got to shout about.
We can’t afford to be timid. We have to speak up, to testify about Jesus, to witness to the power of his resurrection. So when the van turns up on your doorstep and asks you about him, what sort of statement will you make?



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