Basis for Resolving Conflicts – Sunday Synopsis

Justine John Dyikuk

Justine John Dyikuk

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Year C – May 22, 2022.

Readings: Acts 15:1-2.22-29; Responsorial Psalm Ps 67:2-3,5,6 & 8 (R.v.4); Revelations 21:10-14, 22-23; Gospel John 14:23-29.

The first reading recounts the apostles amicably resolved the issue of circumcised and uncircumcised which was dividing the early Church. The second reading recount how John saw the New Jerusalem, the holy city coming down from God out heaven. In the gospel, Jesus bequeathed peace to his apostles as a parting gift. Our liturgy reminds us that lack of peace creates tensions and conflicts. In the face of the current happenings in our country, we are charged to seek ways of ending family, communal and religious feuds.

Introduction

Conflict in human society is old as man himself. From the days of Adam and Eve through the early Church to contemporary times, conflicts have reared their ugly heads in both the Church and secular society. Since it is a given that tensions and conflicts are part of human existence, it is necessary for us to learn how to manage conflicts and sue for peace. Today’s liturgy presents us with the example of the early Christian Community which handled complaints, tensions and conflicts in an amicable manner.

Background and Summary of the Readings

The first reading (Acts 15:1-2.22-29) recounts how the Apostles amicably resolved the issue of circumcised and uncircumcised which was dividing the early Church. There was an agitation from some people who came from Judea who insisted that circumcision was a prerequisite for salvation. Paul and Barnabas had a fierce debate with those who held this view. Since they refused to listen to the apostles, the elders appointed Paul and Barnabas to go to Antioch and have the matter sorted out.

How was the matter resolved? The Apostles sent a letter containing instructions that concerned abstinence from what is sacrificed to idols, from blood or what is strangled and from unchastity. The conflict was resolved by the First Council of the Church in Jerusalem. What is clear is that the early Church sort four ways of resolving the conflict namely listening to agitators, dialogue, sending emissaries, subtle persuasion and recourse to Holy Spirit.

The second reading (Revelations 21:10-14, 22-23) recounts how John saw the New Jerusalem, the holy city coming down from God out of heaven. It reveals that “the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the lamb was a lighted torch for it.”

In the gospel (John 14:23-29), Jesus bequeathed peace to his apostles as a parting gift. Peace as we know is God’s gift to humanity. Not the type of peace the world gives but the peace that comes from God himself.

Pastoral Lessons

  1. Sue for Peace: We are charged to critically look at the tensions, agitations and killings in our land and sue for peace.
  2. Recourse to the Holy Spirit: We must like the early Church learn to listen to the agitators, dialogue with complainants, use emissaries, employ subtle persuasion and above all, have recourse to the Holy Spirit especially when there is tension.
  3. Pray for Peace: The glory St. John saw in the second reading reminds us that only peacemakers will see the face of God which further invites us to take to St. Francis’ prayer for peace in our families and parish communities.
  4. Avoid Feuds: By stating “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” Jesus wants to avoid the causes of conflict such as personal ego and pride, selfish or vested interests, ideological differences and unspiritual pursuits.
  5. Respect Others: Jesus presents us with permanent peace built on prayer and the Holy Spirit as basis for respecting and accommodating others.

Summary Lines

  1. The first reading recounts how the Apostles amicably resolved the issue of circumcised and uncircumcised which was dividing the early Church.
  2. The second reading recounts how John saw the New Jerusalem.
  3. The city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God.
  4. In the gospel, Jesus bequeathed peace to his apostles as a parting gift.
  5. Peace as we know is God’s gift to humanity.

Conclusion

Our liturgy reminds us that lack of peace creates tensions and conflicts. Therefore, we are charged to seek ways of resolving family feuds, communal clashes and wars between nations. Let us end with St. Francis’ prayer for peace: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. Have a blessed week.

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