Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reflecting on the Gospel During Eastertime

What a blessing it is for us to return to the Gospel passages each week to see how the Church continues to receive the power of Christ and to minister to the faithful.  In this season of joy, the Church looks back each week with fresh insight into the mystery of the life of Jesus Christ.  In the Gospel of John, Chapter 13, vv. 31 and following, we hear the blessed Lord make it clear to us that the work he is accomplishing is to be carried on by the Church.  He remains a true presence among The members of the flock..  Clearly his words indicate as much.  We are not disciples of a long-departed teacher.  He is present in his Church, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist and in the Guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The disciples of Christ remain true disciples because of the fact of His presence.  He says, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples.”  This tells us that we must think of ourselves as brothers and sisters in the Lord.  We are not wandering as though we had no direction or truth to follow.  We follow the one Lord and Master.  This must mean, as well, that the children of the world have the understanding and fundamental capacity to identify what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  He says, “They will know that you are my disciples.”  How will they be able to know if they do not have a longing for the truth that is Jesus Christ?  The Lord makes it clear then that our deeds will identify us as His disciples even to those who do not believe or know Him. 

I guess we must ask ourselves then, why, if He can be known by all, why is it that he is ignored or rejected by so many? The Lord tells us that by our love for one another, we identify us as his disciples.  In that we, we are also making him known.  This is an important call for us.  The Lord himself is glorified by His self-sacrificing love for the Church.  “Now is the Son of Man glorified and the Father is glorified in Him.”

I want to ask you, brother and sisters, would you examine yourselves in order to confront the ways that you do not glorify the Father?  We must be ever attentive to this need.  In spite of the fact that we face many obstacles in being faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ, we must still push on and never fall back.  The enemy would like nothing better than for us to give in to doubt and discouragement.  The enemy says, “You are not worthy to witness to Jesus.  You are a sinner and you must just sit this out.  Be a spectator, not a participant.” Do not worry that you have not been as faithful as you should.  God will accept what you have now.  Seek His forgiveness and be restored.

The words of the book of Revelation resound in us, then,

Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.He will dwell with them and they will be his peopleand God himself will always be with them as their God.He will wipe every tear from their eyes,and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,for the old order has passed away.The One who sat on the throne said,“Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:1-5

Many of us are being led astray by false teachings, not only about the sacraments, about the priesthood, about the Church, but also about family, and marriage and child-bearing.  If we are to demonstrate the love our Lord is speaking about we must be honest and truthful.  Sometimes the love that we must show in the name of Christ is difficult because it is only in the Truth that comes from God that there is love.  This is why the Lord Jesus can say, if you love, they will know you are my disciples.  He did not say that love would make you popular or accepted. Indeed, if his life is any indication, the opposite is true. 

This is why the disciples must be encouraged by the apostles:

They strengthened the spirits of the disciplesand exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardshipsto enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-23.

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