5th Sunday of Easter Reflection by Nicole Zenner

As I reflected on the three beautiful readings from this weekend, I kept coming back to the word faith. Faith in your community. Faith in your home and family. Faith within yourself. Faith in God.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we find that not unlike today, conflict arises in an otherwise perfect community. The early disciples realized that in order to get through the conflict, sometimes you have to restructure. For those of you that work in a corporate job, the term restructure can tend to have a negative connotation. But typically, restructuring does end up benefiting the company in the long run; and looking back, if we had more faith in the change it may have been an easier process. When reading this passage, I couldn’t help but think about our country, and even our city of Chicago, and the conflicts that we are facing every day. I believe that it will be through faith and restructuring our communities that will allow us to prosper and take care of our fellow humans the way that Jesus wants us to. It is going to call for Catholics to reach out to our fellow citizens who we may not understand or agree with. It is going to mean that our leaders have to be able to empathize and communicate with the marginalized so that we are taking care of all of God’s people. It takes courage and faith to push through conflict, but that is the way of Jesus.

Today’s second reading brought the sense of community closer to home and made me think of my family and my childhood. When I was in college, I literally built a house with my family—we built the forms for the footings, we mixed the cement for the footings, and foot by foot, we built the addition to our family home all with our own hands. But that isn’t the cornerstone of my family that I will always remember… I will always remember that every night we sat down as a family, said grace, and shared a meal together. Every single night. That is where we talked about our day—the good and the bad that happened to us, and the good and the bad that we may have done to others. This is where we talked about our community and our world and how we could make a positive impact with people. These are the moments when my cornerstone was formed and my parents taught me to be more like Jesus.

Because to know Jesus and to love Jesus, is to become His way, His truth, His life. It is said that we often become like someone that we know and love very well. For me, that person has always been my mother. She has been the person I’ve looked up to my entire life. She has strength and patience that I have never seen in another human being. Her heart is filled with acts of service, as she always wants to be helping other people. She is the woman that I hope to be. I look at the 40 years I have had with my mother and think of how this translates to my 40 years with Jesus. While I’m not able to hug Him, FaceTime with Him, sit across the table and share a meal with Him, or observe Him teaching and healing, it is through my faith that I can see those people that have found His way. There is no Google Map or Waze to follow Jesus, but we have the Bible and our Catholic teachings to guide us on the path to Jesus. If we have faith and open our eyes, we can hug Jesus when we hug someone who is facing a serious health condition. We can FaceTime with Jesus when a friend needs to talk to someone. Through our faith, we share a meal with Him every time we participate in the Eucharist. We can observe Jesus teaching and healing when we see acts of service towards others.

Your journey in faith is a deeply personal one, but my prayer is that you continue to have faith in God, faith in your home and family, and faith in your community.