Weekly Reflections

Sixth Sunday of Easter: May 9, 2021

WHEN PLANS GO WRONG (Acts 10:25–26, 34–35, 44–48)

Some things don’t work out the way you plan them. Even when you pray over a matter, and you decide on an action that you truly believe fits the will of God, things can turn out different from what you had in mind.

Sometimes God takes matters out of your hands.

Take Peter, for example. After the Resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon him and other disciples. Peter preached repentance to converts from Judaism. They were baptized and then received the gifts of the Spirit. It formed a neat program: Find some Jews. Preach to them. Baptize them. Watch for the gifts of the Spirit. What could possibly go wrong?

Cornelius. Peter wasn’t counting on Cornelius.

One day, while Peter was at prayer, he realized that God was calling not just Jews, but Gentiles to belief in Christ. The Gentile Cornelius, who had also been praying, sent friends to find Peter.

When Peter came, his neat program fell apart. The Holy Spirit came upon the household of Cornelius before they were baptized, before these Gentiles could even become Jews!

God had another plan.

Sometimes when things don’t go our way there is a very simple reason. They are going the way God planned them.

WHERE LOVE COMES FROM (1 John 4:7–10)

Who can explain love? One day you meet someone, and your heart is filled with a love you never knew was in there. Where does it come from? How did it get there? What prompted it to come out? Why does it feel this way?

Love warms us like nothing else. It inspires us to be good to others—and not just to the person we love. The love we have for one person is so great that it spills out in our actions and attitudes toward others. You become a more loving person to all because you became a loving person toward one.

Love comes from God. God is love. God loved us first before we loved any other person and before we loved God. John writes, “Love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” When we love someone—whether or not we realize it—we are experiencing God. God loves first.

Some people have another experience of God. They imagine God as an angry, authoritarian figure. Or they go to church and find God—well, boring. John suggests the problem might not be with God. It might be with us. “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

It takes time to get to know God. But if we take time, we will experience love. Then we’ll know where love comes from.

Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year B© 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.