7th week in Easter Time, Saturday – 27th May 2023 — Gospel: Jn 21,20-25
Becoming Heart and Centre
The first reading presents the last part of Paul’s ministry, the last two years of his life, under house arrest in Rome. After hard struggle, i.e., storm, shipwreck and eventful long sea journey Paul and other prisoners reached Rome through Appian way. In Rome, Paul addressed the Jewish community about his being more faithful to the God of Jews than earlier in his life as persecutor. He asked his listeners to see Jesus as the hope of Israel. Until now, the book of the Acts of the Apostles presented to us the general picture of the extraordinary developments of the Church from a small group of uneducated fishermen to a chain of communities formed and built up systematically by zealous preachers. From being a tiny movement in Jerusalem the Church spread progressively to the surrounding territories and then on to Macedonia and Greece and ultimately to the heart of the empire and the centre of the world – Rome. Thus, the Gospel was being preached freely in the very heart of the Roman Empire. This would be the new centre from where the building up of God’s kingdom would become a reality over the centuries and expand to every corner of the world. There are many more triumphs and tragedies for the fledgling church. But to have reached Rome in such a short time was little short of miraculous.