The 6th Sunday of Easter – 22 May 2022.
Lectionary Readings: Acts 15:1-2. 22-29; Ps. 67:2-3. 5- 6. 8; Rev. 21:10-14. 22-23; Jn. 14:23-29
Theme: we are not alone!
We are not alone! The Risen Jesus is always by our side. This is what the liturgy of this 6th Sunday of Easter tells us. In the first reading of the Acts of the Apostles we see new Christians animated by the Spirit, who learn to discern the essential aspect of the message of the Gospel, so that the Gentiles may be liberated to follow Jesus, rather than be bound by Jewish Law.
The central issue in the text is circumcision, which for some was a requirement that was not abolished and that should also be put into practice by the Gentiles. The question of whether or not to comply with the rites of the Law of Moses is an outdated question that does not concern any Christian today, but the current reflection is that we must keep in mind that the essential belief of the followers of ‘The Way’ is Christ and Salvation through him. This is the revolutionary message we have to present to the world. The rest are questions that should not distract us from the essential, because we must learn from the way the Apostles responded to the challenges of the times: with audacity, with imagination, with freedom, with detachment and, above all, with listening to the Spirit.
In the second reading from the book of Revelation, John presents to us the result of God’s definitive intervention in the world: after God’s victory over the forces that oppress human beings and creation; and deprive them of full life, the new and holy community will be born by means of God’s creation of the new heaven and the new earth. And for this to be accomplished, John in the Gospel shows us the path taken by Jesus: Whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him; We will come to him and make our abode with him (John 14:23). This is the path that we Christians must follow, a path of self-giving and sacrifice. In order that the disciples can continue to walk this “path” in the time of the Church, the Father will send the “paraclete”: the Holy Spirit (verse26). The word “paraclete” can be translated as “advocate”, “helper”, “consoler”, and “intercessor”. The function of the “paraclete” is to “teach” and “remind” us all of what Jesus revealed. It is the Holy Spirit who animates us and gives us strength and courage to continue on the path of fidelity to Christ and the Church, united to Jesus and the Father through Him.
When we follow Christ, dying to our desires, we are created anew. This is the fruit of communion with the Father and with Jesus which does not result from magical moments or through empty practices; but rather from the intimacy and communion with Jesus and with the Father that is established by walking the path of love and surrender, in TOTAL self-giving for others. Am I on this path or am I still living in my private world surrounded by selfishness, emptiness and hypocrisy?
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Is my life continually a gift of love for others? 2. Am I trying to strip myself of the selfishness and pride that prevent me from growing into the person God wants me to be?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965)
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, NDS, Israel, Bat Kol Secretary.