Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24
For the Christian Who Truly Lives His or Her Faith, We Know That There Is a Great Joy Which Awaits Each of Us.
We read in today’s Gospel, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
We are only seven days away from Pentecost, an event which ushered in the beginning of Christ’s Church, an event which removed the timidity of the Apostles and filled them with a new resolve, a new courage in proclaiming the wonders of this new Way of life, this new and wonderful awareness of the Love and Mercy which is God’s – all in the Name of Jesus Christ!
In today’s Gospel, we are privileged to be in the presence of the Divine Son and listen to His personal conversation He is having with His Eternal Father – a conversation which reveals the intimacy of the Love which has existed from all eternity between the first two Persons of the Blessed Trinity –
“Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”
At the same time, it is a prayer asking His Father to keep safe those whom Jesus chose as His own, for whoever belongs to the Son belongs to the Father.
In the same way, our Lord’s words speak to each of us – for if we also belong to the Lord, we also belong to the Father, and it is Jesus who, having entered the eternal sanctuary of Heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as our Mediator.
His Ascension into Heaven set into motion a series of events which will continue and not reach its fulfillment unto His Glorious Second Coming – the establishment of His Church here on Earth, and a deeper and more profound awareness of the sacramental nature of His Church, and of our relationship to the Church as members of the Body of Christ.
God also constantly calls out to each of us to fulfill our vocation in life, living out the charisms with which we are blessed – all as a result of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, filling us with the graces we need to live our lives in conformity with God’s will.
But in the conversation Jesus is having with His Father, He knows only too well that our life here, on this side of Heaven, will not be without its trials and difficulties, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me…”
The Apostles were aware of the trials which awaited them when they left Mount Olivet after our Lord’s Ascension, for Jesus had said to them, “And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
And He also warned them earlier, “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”
For their mutual safety, we find in our First Reading today that, after Jesus had ascended to His Father in Heaven, the Apostles, together with our Blessed Mother and some of the other brethren, gathered together in the Upper Room, the place where Jesus had celebrated with them the Last Supper. And, as Scripture tells us, they “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer.”
This moment had to be bittersweet for them. They had been with the Risen Lord for forty days, and now He was gone from their sight. In their hearts, I am sure many of them felt alone. Yet, they had His promise that the Advocate would come and fill their hearts with an understanding of all that Jesus had taught them.
For this, they could only wait and pray and trust.
And in our Responsorial, the psalmist is echoing words of trust in God in times of distress and anxiety, possibly one of the psalms the Apostles themselves may have been praying: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid?”
In our Second Reading, we find this same theme of trusting in God, despite whatever difficulties we may find ourselves facing. Peter is bolstering the faith of those who, some Biblical scholars believe, are undergoing some form of persecution, for he is telling them not to despair in the midst of their sufferings, for Peter writes, “But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.”
In the lives which you and I live today, in the midst of a culture which shows disdain towards anyone who actively supports the moral truths of Christianity, in the midst of all those who are attempting to rewrite the Natural Law in their image, and in the midst of the materialistic seductions which seem to permeate almost every fabric of life, it is only normal that we face disappointments, discouragements and set-backs.
Yet, in today’s Gospel, we hear what is called the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”, as He is praying a prayer of intercession with words which are directly addressed to His Father, a prayer of petition for the needs of His disciples both then and in the future – that both they and each of us shall be kept safe.
And our Lord reminded us in the Gospel last Sunday, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
For us, however, just as for the disciples during the days that Jesus died and rose from the dead, just as for the Christians of the early Church, despair is only a temporary condition for the Christian who has faith, for we know that, after all things are said and done, and for those who live their faith, for those who truly “walk the talk” – there is a great joy which awaits each of us!
Remember Peter’s words, “Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.”
And it is this glory to which each of us, both you and I, look forward. It is our faith which teaches us that, in God’s time, for all of us who have been marked with the sign of faith, we will be reunited with all of our loved ones who have gone before us and have left this life in God’s friendship – for God is Love, and His Kingdom is filled with His Love.
For those of us who suffer due to debilitating illnesses and who live our faith with our hearts – in God’s time, there will be no more suffering, no more tears.
For those of us who live with loneliness, day in and day out, due to whatever circumstances in life may have caused it, know that God’s Love will fill our hearts with a joy and a beauty which the human mind cannot even imagine.
For as our Lord reminds both you and me today, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
And we have God’s Spirit within us who will guide us to the fulfillment of all of His promises. We only need to imitate the faith of our Blessed Mother and the Apostles in that Upper Room – where they, too, waited and prayed and trusted – just as you and I are each called to do in our own daily lives.
In the end, the eternal reward for our perseverance in our faith is truly beyond all description or human understanding!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3)
- “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.” (John 17:9-10)
- “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.” (John 16:2)
- “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
- “But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.” (1 Peter 4:13)
- “[The LORD] will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8b)
- “Those who honor your name trust in you; you never forsake those who seek you, LORD.” (Psalm 9:10)
- “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
- “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9b)
- “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” (John 14:1)
Prayer for the Day
“O Lord, we ask for a boundless confidence
and trust in Your Divine Mercy,
and the courage to accept the crosses and sufferings
which bring immense goodness
to our souls and that of Your Church.
“Help us to love You with a pure and contrite heart,
and to humble ourselves beneath Your Cross,
as we climb the mountain of holiness,
carrying our cross that leads to Heavenly glory.
“May we receive You with great faith
and love in Holy Communion,
and allow You to act in us,
as You desire, for Your greater glory.
“O Jesus, most adorable HeartSaint Padre Pio
and Eternal Fountain of Divine Love,
may our prayer find favor before
the Divine Majesty of Your Heavenly Father. Amen.”