Soul Food for Young Adult Communities, Pentecost Sunday, May 10, 2013.
Sinead, Mark and Friends are young adults. A community is two, three or more people, sharing their faith and questions and search.
Dear Sinead, Mark and Friends,
LOCKED IN? LOCKED OUT? RUNNING AWAY? The pressure society places on us can limit our spontaneity and participation in life. For example the fear of being judged or compared to can leave us feeling locked out of life. When our life is paralysed by the harshness of peer pressure, we take a step back instead of forward. It’s a natural and healthy reaction sometimes to run away from our problems.
In the first reading from Acts, and in the Gospel of this Pentecost Sunday, we witness fear, doubt, and anxiety. The disciples are afraid, so they have locked themselves in a room. Thomas even doubts that Jesus appeared to them! We see an utter transformation when they witness Jesus’ presence and peace. Just like the disciples I sometimes feel fearful and doubtful. The Holy Spirit gently guides and provides strength in facing up to difficulties in our lives. The disciples in the Upper Room are utterly changed,- no more fear, or hiding; they head out boldly into the middle of many cultures, and speak out the great News, about Jesus of Nazareth, about his death, his resurrection, and his promise of the Holy Spirit to all the world,- a spirit of love and community, a spirit of joy and life-to-the-full, for all peoples and races.
‘MY PEACE’? And then, there’s that word ‘peace’. ‘My peace I leave with you!’, the Risen Lord said to the frightened disciples. Peace? Happiness? The world believes that happiness in life is measured by our cultures obsession with image and material possessions. Jesus said that His Peace it is not of this world. The peace the world gives can be destructive. The Dove campaign for Real Beauty revealed that more than 90 percent of girls aged 15 to 17 wanted to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. It also revealed that nearly a quarter of young women considered undergoing cosmetic surgery and 13 per cent acknowledged an eating disorder. Our cultures narrowness in the way it perceives success and beauty is a pressure that imprisons rather than frees. The statistics show how our obsession with “beauty” affects the self-worth of young women.
The disciples ran away too and locked themselves in the upper room away from the Jews.
Jesus’ action is no less relevant today from the evening he appeared to his apostles. He said “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” and with this He breathed the Holy Spirit on them. He says to you too “receive the Holy Spirit.” You are never alone in your problems. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can provide effects of faith far beyond our own capabilities and imagination. The LORD will give us the courage to free us from the chains that drag us down. Locked in? Locked out? Running away? Never again! The peace of Jesus is with you.
(Editor’s Note: John Doone is a student in his 20′s. Thanks for writing this for us, John!)