Acts 16:22-34
John 16: 5-11


The dynamic presence of the Spirit, unleashed through the resurrection of the Christ, continued to enliven the small Christian community. Today the Acts tells the action of Paul and Silas as they bring the good news into a distrusting community. They are surrounded by hostility for their message and end up in prison. But the prayer and trust of Paul and Silas is accompanied by a small earthquake that opens prison doors and shakes loose the chains from the missionaries. The incident is filled with energy. It’s a wonderful reminder of the presence and the passion of God’s care for us all. The story shows the poor gaoler who is about to commit suicide as he feared for the accountability for his actions that was to come!

“Don’t do yourself any harm. We are still here”. Then fear gives way to trust and belief. The gaoler and his whole family is changed and he takes the missionaries home and feeds them. The whole small community is changed and celebrates.   And so begins our story of faith and growth. Our human story and our faith story are interwoven with uncertainty, with fear and finally with new hope and trust.

The gospel has Jesus prepare the church for a new moment in their lives of his followers. “Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you.” So our journey in the company of the Risen always involves a little uncertainty and being open to new ways to express our faith and a readiness to stand with others in new ways. In this way we and they are consistently offered the chance to see life more and more through the eyes of the Crucified and the Risen One. Then we and they have the chance to see life differently.

Our prayer of welcome to the gospel hears the promise of the Lord: “I will send you the Spirit of truth who will lead you to the whole truth.”

As we face the uncertainty of the present moment and the levels of violence and payback and loss of direction for so many people, then it is surely time to listen to our story even more closely and reflectively. We are all of us being invited to enter more and more deeply into the ‘whole truth.’

So we are being prepared to see the end of the Easter season. But, instead of seeing it as a loss, we are being equipped with the confidence to walk into the future with new hope. Faith is still alive and we are still being invited to walk in the presence of the Risen one with new trust.

Fr. Kevin Dance CP is the vicar of the St.Brigid’s Retreat, Marrickville. He is very actively involved in ministries locally and at Passionist International where he served as the Executive Director for many years.