In our childhood, many of us have had the experience of being “chosen” by another one of our friends who had become the captain of a team for a particular game we were going to play. Can you imagine the joy of being “chosen” by Jesus to be part of His inner circle? The inner circle friends got to travel with Him, witness His miracles, listen to His teachings and then be sent out in His name to do the same. Even His power was shared with them so that they too could convenience others that God’s Kingdom was coming. In the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus reminds all His followers: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” John 15:16. In the Acts of the Apostles reading selected for this weekend, Simon Peter is sent by the Spirit of God to the home of the Gentile named Cornelius. He travels with other Jewish believers in Jesus and with them boldly enters the Gentile homestead. This very act would violate Jewish custom and tradition. While speaking to Cornelius and his household about the wisdom of God’s will manifested in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the Holy Spirit comes down to rest upon his Gentile hearers. Because of this manifestation of God’s generous Spirit, even the Gentiles are Baptized and made part of this new chosen people of God. The ministry of the early Church began to bear new fruit. In our Baptism we too were chosen by God. We were strengthened in the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and are nourished at the table of the Lord each week in the Holy Eucharist. We are sustained in this way so that we too may bear fruit. Going to a Gentile home was not an easy task for the early Jewish believers. It was a decision filled with anxiety for some. I’m sure many were thinking that this action was crazy yet God was leading them. May we all surrender to God’s Spirit and respond well to the Spirit’s leading us to go out and bear much fruit.
PASTOR’S TRAVEL As founder and director of ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa, I have the great opportunity to occasionally travel to mission countries to begin, supervise and/or dedicate the completion of various mission projects. For the last few years ROTA has been lending support to a gentleman from Kenya who has been studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Torit in Southern Sudan. Because of the tribal conflicts plaguing Southern Sudan, Deacon Richard Oduor will be ordained in Nairobi Kenya by the retired and former Bishop of Torit, his lordship Paride Taban. Having hosted Bishop Taban during his visit and stay in Buffalo as well as supported Deacon Richard through the years I have been invited to attend his ordination. I will be leaving our country on Monday, May 7th and return two weeks later on the 22nd of May. While there in Kenya I will also make a brief visit to our mission friends in Masaka Uganda and Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa. I will be in Masaka for the dedication of a completed project to assist the Diocesan Priests. Please pray for my successful and safe mission travel. Thank You…… Fr. Ron.