5th. Sunday of Easter (C)
(Acts 14:21-27; Rev. 21:1-5; John 13:31-35)
I, John, saw a new Jerusalem, God’s dwelling with His people as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. The One who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.
God's work of making all things new began with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, Son of God and Son of Man. The Son shared with His Father and the Holy Spirit in the original creation when God made all things through the Son in the Spirit; that is why -- now that all things are in the process of being made new – the Son Incarnate, Jesus of Nazareth, having been crucified and raised from the dead in the power of the Spirit, appeared to His Apostles locked in the Upper Room for fear of the Jews and breathed His Spirit on them. His breathing upon them was precisely the sign of a new creation being made. Just as God had breathed on the original creation:
The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7),
so Jesus, appearing in the midst of His disciples and having shown them the wounds in His hands and His side, said to them:
Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:19-22)
God is making all things new, and Jesus, the Risen Lord, shares in His Father’s work by breathing the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles, thereby making them into the nucleus of that new creation where sin is to be overthrown by the cleansing and empowering presence of God's Holy Spirit. A new creation indeed: the Family of God, Mother Church, work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, where God bestows new life in Jesus and where Jesus calls upon all members -- of Himself and of God’s family -- to love one another by the Spirit He bestows on them, as He, Jesus, loved those to whom His Father had sent Him on His earthly mission.
LIFE and LOVE! That is what Christianity is all about!
What is LIFE all about in our modern world and society however? Governments of all kinds prescribe life-styles for their countrymen or those under their power. Even … I was actually going to write, ‘even Christian governments’ … but then I thought, are there any Christian governments? Certainly not in England, America, Europe etc. … Those governments of what used to call themselves Christian countries now proclaim and impose nothing better than their own up-to-date version of officially approved, politically correct ‘ethical’ living, smattered here and there with vestiges or memorials of what was formerly Christian practice … speaking, for example, of marriage where husband and wife can now be two elderly men, and of family where un-natural children (un-natural – not of themselves indeed – but for such a union) are bestowed with government blessing upon ‘couples’ chosen for all sorts of abilities and qualities except that if being able to give, bestow, life!
What again do the majority of our contemporaries think LOVE is all about? It is the most bastardized word or concept of all in our modern society because its origin is sublime and its purpose is eminently dignifying and fulfilling. However, ‘love’ in the Hollywood sense of the word and in the lurid pictures and images it provides, is used to touch-up and justify a most degrading and destructive mixture of lust and pleasure, violence and vengeance, instead of bringing beauty and purpose, joy and hope, to even the bleakest of human situations.
‘Family’ and ‘love’, two most sublime words when lived in accordance with their original Christian significance and open to their innate spiritual power, become poisonous when used by specious scholars as propaganda or by irreligious (proudly so!) modern men and women as words to cover up or excuse what are merely worldly aspirations of the flesh (which inevitably turns to corruption) and appreciations that look no further than the grave (proving themselves to be ultimately selfish)
LIFE and LOVE in the Eucharist! That is what Christianity is all about.
Our closest bond is, humanly speaking, flesh and blood, and God’s new creation is not alien to, at variance with, such deep-rooted natural human awareness: that bond, however, is made supernatural and becomes capable of sustaining eternal life and the ultimate love by our partaking of and sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ! In Jesus our Lord, Who gave Himself for us and offers Himself to us as food for eternal life, we are made uniquely and supremely one as adopted Children of God, family in Jesus of Him Who is pleased to be our Father. It is not human family, not shared sufferings, most certainly not racial superiority or hatreds (ISIS), that can truly and sublimely unite us, but only and exclusively our being one with and in Jesus -- the supreme, divine, reality in the whole of God's creation -- by the Spirit, for the Father, and for His plan and purpose to make ‘all things new’:
As the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me; ( John 6:57)
So then, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith; (Galatians 6:10); and again (1st Peter 2:17):
Honour everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honour the
To further understand this essential aspect of Jesus let us look yet more closely at the Gospel.
Jesus was proud, humanly speaking, to be a Jew and member of God’s Chosen People serving the salvation of all mankind:
The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe Me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. (John 44:19-22)
Again, recall Jesus emphasising His solidarity, oneness, with another particular group:
While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds, His mother and His brothers appeared outside, (asking) to speak with Him. But He said in reply to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My heavenly Father is My brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:46–50)
‘Whoever does the will of My heavenly Father is My real family’, Jesus makes abundantly clear.
Our modern rationalists -- political propagandists, and others deeply opposed to religion -- love to show and abuse their remembrance of certain Christian teachings and ultimate aspirations by ever reasserting modern versions or adaptations of the famous revolutionary trinity, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality; most beautiful Christian concepts indeed, which they, however, idealize beyond truthfulness and practicality by excluding the very, very, human reality of sin which requires the Christian awareness and practice of repentance and -- most objectionably for such revolutionaries -- the awareness and practice of Christian humility before God and man.
Dear People of God, our liturgical Sacrifice of the Eucharist and our personal sacramental reception of and commitment to the fruit of that sacrifice is the supreme seal of mankind’s saving oneness with Jesus, of our filial appreciation and embracing of the Father’s good-will for His adopted children, and the bonding of our human togetherness in mutual reverence and rejoicing. Treasure your Mass; pray with confidence for Mother Church.