The Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 15, 2019
We gather this week for our final celebration of the Easter Season as next week we will celebrate the great feast of Pentecost- the coming of the Holy Spirit. These weeks have been a journey calling us to new life and a deeper relationship with our loving God. We have seen Jesus coming in the upper room to offer comfort and peace to a doubting Thomas. We have heard of the appearances of Jesus at the seashore as he prepared breakfast for his disciples and offered forgiveness to Peter. We listened to the story of the Good Shepherd who is one with the sheep who know his voice. We have seen the effect of resurrection on the earliest Christians. In Acts, we witnessed the experiences of the early church, the healing stories and excitement of the crowds. But we then also heard of those who were threatened by this Risen Jesus and these disciples who began to preach his word. Today we hear of the stoning of the first deacon and martyr, Stephen. His belief in the Risen Lord and his response to those who are stoning him was with the same loving heart as Jesus on the Cross : “Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit” and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” as he falls asleep in God. We also notice that Saul stands by, watching and not yet aware that he is also to be called to this life in the Risen Jesus. God will also use this persecutor for great things in the future.
In the Book of Revelation, there is John’s marvelous vision of the holy ones washing their robes, coming for life-giving water and recognizing God as the Alpha and Omega and Jesus as the root, the bright morning star promising hope in this new life. Fr. Richard Rohr has said that we are all born spiritual and it was God who sent us His Son so that we may learn how to become human: how to treat one another…how to forgive one another, how to love each other as Christ loved us. The more human we become, the more divine we become. The Gospel of John describes the mutual indwelling each of us have with God: this divine dance of God and Christ and Spirit and us all being one. Jesus offered this prayer for unity at the Last Supper and it is often called “the high priestly prayer” as he speaks directly to his Father and indicates this intimacy. His desire is that “they/we may all be one”. As Easter people, we are called to recognize that reality and to work toward greater unity in our religious communities, our neighborhoods and our families as we live in this renewed Easter life.
For reflection and discussion:  How have these Easter scriptures given you a sense of newness in faith and in our oneness in God?  What does it mean for me to be part of the “divine dance”?  Do I recognize the divinity within me and also in those I meet – including those who may be most difficult and who fail to recognize that reality in themselves?
Bibliography: Deacon Jim Knipper, Hungry, and You Fed Me (Clear Vision Publishing, 2012).
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