25 Apr Thursday
“Great numbers of men and women were added to them.” The Luke author continues to reflect the egalitarian nature of the apostolic Jesus movement. Even for Hellenistic culture with its many different social, political, and all sort of “clubs”, this would have been unusual to be positioned to include women, and one can imagine other groups. This “neither Greek nor Jew, male or female, slave nor free” quality shapes the horizon of the Jesus community from the beginning.
Yet here we are today, still wrestling with this in our culture, where men think and act contrary to this egalitarian attitude and practice. One of the “fears” is that women won’t be women anymore and men won’t be men. That’s a mistaken conflation of the meaning of egalitarian and uniformity.
Jesus’ resurrection story in John beautifully recreates the scene in Genesis and the giving of the divine breath of life. Here, it is an empowerment for new life in the whole community which built around receiving peace that comes from forgiveness, reconciliation. This peace of Christ creates community and is deeply connected to the Eucharist.