Commentary on the Gospel of
It’s Mother’s day here in the U.S. And I’m concerned about the widows in the first reading. They are not getting the appropriate charity, not getting enough food. My own mother is a widow, and since my father died and since my mother was disabled by a stroke, my sister and I take care of her and my sister’s son lives with her to care for her. I’m widowed too. The disciples are overwhelmed. There’s so much to do. So many people need help and healing. New people are joining the church. They can’t handle the preaching and the administrative work and making sure all the widows get their lunch. They have to appoint more people to help. They have to find people to do the administrative work so the disciples can pray and preach. More people want to join, and more people want to serve. The Twelve couldn’t manage everything, but they appointed seven more to help, “and the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly and even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”
I wrote a reflection a few weeks ago about the miracle of the loaves and fishes. So many were hungry and needed to eat and it was impossible to feed everyone, but Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and everyone was satisfied. The Lord provided. Now when the disciples need help managing the new church, help is again provided. In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises that they (and by extension we) will be taken care of. He tells them not to worry – he will go ahead and prepare the way and there will be provisions for everyone. Thomas (always the doubter) asks how we will be able to follow since we do not know the way. But Jesus says he himself is the way and by following his example, we will follow him to God’s house. Philip is even more doubtful and asks to actually see God. Jesus says, you see me. He says, “I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father."
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The reflection I wrote last month talked about false prophets whose ministries did not survive them. But Jesus was rejected by the authorities of the day – misunderstood, persecuted, arrested, executed. He was discarded by leaders, but here he is, the cornerstone of our faith. His ministry continues to this day, new people continue to join the church and to serve. And it’s still appropriate to sing praises to God. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us, and we will find it by following him.