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This Sunday we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter. Once again our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the Gospel of John. It comes to us in two distinct sections.
At first blush, the opening words of the first section of this Gospel are a bit puzzling: “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.’” The question naturally arises as to why are we reading about Judas during the Easter season? The answer is that the setting of this Gospel is the last supper. For John, Jesus’ glorification is rooted in and grows out of his suffering. Judas’ departure set in motion the course of events that ultimately led to Jesus’ glorification. And since Jesus’ resurrection is his glorification, there is a certain appropriateness to the mention of Judas on this Fifth Sunday of our Easter season.
The second section of this Gospel begins: “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another.” Now while this is not a new commandment, what is new is the next sentence: “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” In these words Jesus really “raises the bar” in regard to what is expected of his disciples.
Our first reading this Sunday is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles. It tells of the missionary efforts of Paul and Barnabas to various cities. The last sentence tells of their arrival at Antioch. We are told: “And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”
Our second reading this Sunday is from the Book of Revelation. It presents us with a “vision” of John of a “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” with a loud voice saying: “Behold God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people……….”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- The challenge for us to love one another as we have been loved by Jesus can be daunting. When have you been successful at it? When have you failed?
- While most of us are not called to be missionaries in foreign countries, we are all called to share the message of Jesus Christ in our own ways. Can you recall a time when you have given witness to Christ by what you have said or done?
- When have you been aware of God’s dwelling with you?