Thursday in the Fifth Week of Easter
Both of our readings today seem to be about the formation of conscience, of a sense of what matters most and how all else lines up behind that. As Jesus, having completed His mission, leaves His disciples to go to the Father, He forms their conscience as Followers. And those disciples in the early days of the Church form the consciences of those becoming the Body of Christ. They are receiving a conscience of membership. It is formed around what matters most because that is what motivates a person; it determines how they think, feel, and act. When they share that with others, they are members.
In ACTS, Peter lists characteristics of members, people he calls “Brothers.” They are chosen by God. Those in an “out-group”, the Gentiles, became members because they heard the Gospel and believed. God saw their hearts and gave them the Holy Spirit who purified their hearts by faith and so the Gentiles were just like the disciples: chosen and believing. In short, the “out-group” members converted (as did the disciples) and were truly seeking God. That was all that mattered. We are told this because we need to remember that.
And Jesus says that if we remain in His love and keep His commandments we will be members of Him in His relationship to the Father. We will be members because we follow His example and live by His power…not by personal accomplishment… not by not being one of us.” He says we need to remember that, too.
Whether married, widowed, or monastic, from time-to-time we need to re-member.