Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection 5-12-23

Friday of the 5th week of Easter, May 12, 2023
Acts 15:22-31; Ps 57:8-10, 12; Jn 15:12-17

The other night, we were sitting at home and had just finished watching the news on TV. I was thinking to myself about all the noise I was hearing. The announcer was practically yelling in my face about the “Urgent story” that happened that day. We needed to react and act right now so justice could be done. There was no discussion about the fact, nor if the way they wanted us to act, was right or wrong. We just needed to succumb to our emotions and act. I was beginning to feel that my opinions and even worse yet, that the truth didn’t matter. After all, it was in the announcer’s urge to act immediately all that mattered. So, I decided to shut the TV off and sit in silence. It wasn’t too long that my ears heard birds chirping. My eyes then turned toward them and I watched the birds feeding on the bird feeder. I heard a car go by, and then an airplane fly overhead. But mostly, I heard silence. My head stopped spinning and hurting, and my heart slowed down. I felt a sense of peace in the quiet. So, I decided to leave the TV off and put my phone away. I went to bed that night feeling very peaceful and had one of the best nights’ sleep I had in a long time. 

It seems the Christians in Antioch were struggling in a similar way. They were getting overwhelmed with those claiming to be disciples and teaching them all sorts of things. They did not know who to believe and were easily led away from the truth. It was so unsettling that representatives needed to be sent to straighten things out. By just showing up and explaining a few things, the Gentiles of Antioch were overjoyed to hear the truth and not be led astray. The “noise” they heard before was silenced, and in the quiet, they heard the truth. Barnabas, Paul, Judas, and Silas, by being themselves, strong Christians who projected their way of life just by the way they walked, talked, and greeted others, showed that in the quiet, truth and love prevail. Jesus reminds us of this again in the Gospel; all we need to do is “Love one another as I love you.”

I spent the remainder of that evening, not so much in silence, but in conversation with someone I love. Something we had not done in a while. And later on, I read a book about Jesus and the Eucharist, something else I truly love. Both of these things, the conversation, and the reading, allowed me to hear the truth and feel the love of God. I made a commitment to myself that I will try at least one night a week, to unplug, listen to the silence, and be with those I love. 

“Love one another, as I love you.” A simple phrase to say, but so difficult to carry out. But we must. If we are going to keep ourselves focused on the one who loves us the most, we need to shut out the world and the noise and spend time with Him. He is the truth, the way, and the life. In the quiet, in the silence, as we listen to the birds and an occasional car or plane go by. It is there, we will find truth and love, and not be swayed to “Act now” regardless of the consequences.  

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL