Acts 6:1-7
John 6:16-21


It didn’t take long for the Christian community to experience tension within the group. Interestingly, the Twelve responded by recognising the problem and finding a solution. Oh, that we could do the same in our daily lives. It would be easy to overcome prejudice, disadvantage, and injustice if only the situation was acknowledged and a solution sought. We live in hope.

In today’s Gospel passage, John presents a post-resurrection message of courage and hope. We hear the beautiful words “Do not be afraid” for “I am”. It is a call to live and work in the presence of Jesus, trusting in the conviction that our mission is God ordained and our work is blessed when we act with kindness and goodness.  

The ELSPM community where I work is grieving the loss of a student this week, a candidate with the Passionists who had just returned to his family in Vietnam. At 26 years of age, he suffered a fatal stroke. For us, the strong wind of disbelief and the rough seas of the Gospel has been the reality we have faced this week. As we seek peace, we also pray that the words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid’ were with Toan in his final moments and that the presence of God, the “I am”, is with his family, classmates, teachers, and friends.

Margaret Bentley is a Salesian Sister and is currently the Academic Manager at the English Language Studies for Pastoral Ministry (ELSPM) begun by the Passionists in 2014 to enable their students to learn English before continuing to the Novitiate or theological studies.