June 24, 2011
"Remain In Me"
One of the key recurring themes in the Gospel According to John is to be one with God.
With the very first sentence of the Gospel, John indicates that Jesus, the Word of God, is with God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (1:1).
The Word of God came into the world to give those who believe in his name the "power to become children of God" (1:12). Thus, by his coming among us, the Son, who is with God, brings us into one with God.
The purpose of Jesus' earthly life is to carry out this mission. Near the end of his living among us, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave his friends these words of farewell, ""Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." (14:23)
In this way, "I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you." (14:20)
Jesus' mission continues. While we may not see Jesus Christ with our physical eyes, the Eucharist gives to us even now, everyday of our life, this unity with the Divine, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."
Thus, in the Eucharist, the Word of God continues to be in the flesh, our flesh, so that we are now one with God.
June 18, 2011
The Cost of God's Love
John 3: 16 is rather commonly seen and quoted. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."
It would be incomplete and simplistic to take John 3:16 apart from the two preceding verses, "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." 
Now, we have the fullness of the revelation of God's love. God's love is not cheap. God loves us to the extent of giving up his only Son on the cross so that those who believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
There, the cost of God's love.
 Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 101.
The Trinity by El Greco
June 11, 2011
Fears Transformed to Power
The disciples are afraid.
It helps us appreciate the power of the presence of the Risen Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit if we take a deeper look at the setting of the Gospel passage.
The passage begins with the time of the event, "On the evening of that first day of the week." What day is "that first day of the week"? Why does John mention it so explicitly?
John specifies that day because earlier on that first day of the week, the disciples have heard at least twice the news that Jesus has risen from the dead, just as he has told them. First, through Mary of Magdala and then through Peter and the other disciple who went to find the empty tomb with the burial cloths all folded neatly (John, Chapter 20). They must have told the other disciples upon their return. For sure, Mary did after the Risen Jesus appears to her. Verse 18 reads, "Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her."
Yet, the very next sentence, we find the disciples lock themselves behind closed doors out of fear.
To these fearful disciples, Jesus comes. Unlike the words of Mary, Peter, and the other disciple, Jesus' words and his presence bring them peace.
He then gives them the power and strength of the Holy Spirit
Not only are they no longer afraid, they are now sent to change people's lives and hearts . They now have that power. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
We may be at times confused and even fearful.
Jesus, in his words, his Eucharist, and his Church, continues to be presence to us.
And His gift of the Holy Spirit is with us.
We need to be afraid no longer. We too are called, empowered by the gift of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to go and transform lives.
 Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 533.
June 4, 2011
Jesus Prays for Us
For three weeks now we have been reading from John's account of the Last Supper.
In the Gospel of the 5th Sunday of Easter, Jesus tells the disciples, whom he knows well, that he is the way, the truth and the life. Only through him can they come to the Father.
Then last week, Jesus urges the same group of weak disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." To the disciples who will deny and abandon him, he then gives the example of his own love in his humble washing their feet and later, in the gift of his own life on the cross. He also promises them the help of the Advocate so that they may be able to love as he commands.
Now, he prays for the disciples.
The disciples are weak and fragile. They are sinners. They even deny and reject Jesus. Yet, in his own words, they belong to God and they are the Father's gifts to the Son. "They belonged to you, and you gave them to me." Moreover, Jesus prays to the Father, "Everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine."
And Jesus does not pray only for the disciples present then at the Last Supper. Later on in this same prayer, in 17:20, Jesus adds, "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word." 
Yes, Jesus does not pray just for those disciples, he prays for me also.
I may be weak and broken. I am a sinner, like those disciples.
And Jesus prays for me because I am the Father's gift to Him.
 Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 459.