Sunday, May 5, 2013
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Workings of the Spirit
Anyone who has seen a loved one off to a new adventure knows how difficult it is to rejoice, even when we are reasonably optimistic about their future. So, we can imagine how difficult it must have been for the disciples to rejoice in Jesus' announced departure. Today's Gospel is part of Jesus' Last Supper discourse, recorded only by John. Jesus announces shocking news. He must go to the Father, and they should rejoice in this. To help them through this, Jesus gives his disciples his gift of peace and promises an Advocate.
From our privileged position in history, we can see that all that Jesus promises comes to pass. The Church has grown and still exists on this earth because of the abiding Spirit. But living by the Spirit and entering into the peace of Christ is no small task. Jesus doesn't promise the apostles a rose garden. He is realistic about the costs of discipleship. And, mercifully, he is also clear about its rewards.
Copyright @ J.S.Paluch Co.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
One can feel the energy of a young, growing church in today's first reading. For Paul and Barnabas, it's smooth sailing. For the sponsoring church at Antioch, good news. The second reading a vision offers a picture of triumph, pure and simple. We might paraphrase God's direct words to read: "Don't you see? I make all things new!"
The young church remains new and young to this day if and when it follows the command Jesus lays down in the Gospel: "Love one another." The attitude and actions of love define the disciples and identify them with their master. Every person on this earth can be a disciple. For discipleship does not depend on learning or sophistication or age or arcane knowledge of secret cults. We are asked to study and practice the ways of love, right here and right now in the company of ordinary people.
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Sunday, April 21, 2013
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Good Shepherd not only knows us but has given his life for us. We belong to the Shepherd. His life is the source of our life. One part of this relationship is firm God's part. The Father has entrusted us to the Son, and the Son will not let go of our hand.
The other part of this relationship depends on us, of course. In today's Gospel, Jesus assumes our open-hearted good will. "My sheep hear my voice...and they follow me." This hearing and following is a daily undertaking that implies responsibility. Take Paul and Barnabas, for example. They moved ever closer to the reality that salvation was also meant for those members of the flock who did not yet know God's saving power. The Gentiles were the sheep known by the Shepherd. Paul could finally see that now was the acceptable time for them to know the Shepherd. Now the circle could be completed. Finally, those who were known and loved by the God of Jesus could know and follow the God of Jesus. There will never be a last chapter to this story of salvation. Copyright @ J.S.Paluch Co.