April 27, 2013

5th Sunday of Easter - C


The Love that Glorifies God

The short phrase, “When Judas had left them,” provides us the timeline of the commandment of love that Jesus gives.  

Moreover, it helps us to appreciate more the depth of Jesus’ love, and the challenging nature of his command.

A short time after Judas had left them, Jesus would give himself up out of love for God the Father and for humanity.

Within a day after Judas had left them, Jesus’ great love would lead him to the cross.

There, his death out of love would glorify God and saves humanity from sins and death.

There, on the cross, Jesus gives us the ultimate example of love.  There, he tells us, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

5th Sunday of Easter - C (April 28, 2013)


Image source:  http://agnusday.org/

April 18, 2013

4th Sunday of Easter - C


The Good Shepherd Who Gives Life

Jesus speaks these words recorded in John 10 while he is in the Temple for the Feast of Dedication.  

This annual event celebrates the rededication of the Temple after it was desecrated by the gentiles in 164 BC.  

At the time, some of Jewish political and religious leaders sided with the invading forces of Syria under Antiochus IV for position and power.  Their following of Antiochus, who called himself “Epiphanes” (“the manifest god”) caused the destruction of the Temple and the death of many devout Jews.  

Eventually, under the leadership of Mattathias and his son, Judas Maccabeus, the Jews defeated the Syrians, reclaimed their nation, and rededicated the Temple. [1]

In that context of the celebration of Dedication, Jesus speaks of himself as “the good shepherd” (10:14). 

Unlike the leaders who betrayed their nation and their people, the Good Shepherd knows the sheep and gives them eternal life by giving up his own life.   Thus, “they shall never perish.”

[1] Francis J. Moloney, SDB., The Gospel of John.  Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1998; p. 313.

4th Sunday of Easter - C (April 21, 2013)

World Day of Prayer for Vocations


April 12, 2013

3rd Sunday of Easter - C


Follow Me

Today, we hear the final command given by Jesus in John’s Gospel, “Follow me.”

The command was given to Peter. 

It was Peter who denied knowing Jesus three times.  But he was also the one who professes his love for Jesus three times.

If we go back further, in John’s account of the first encounter between Jesus and Simon, Jesus gave no invitation to Simon to follow him.  On that occasion, it was Andrew, Simon’s brother, who introduced him to Jesus.  And all we heard was Jesus giving Simon the new name “Cephas (which is translated Peter)” (Chapter 1: 40-42).

Obviously, Peter then joined Jesus.

Along the way, he heard Jesus describing himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep (10: 11-17).

Moreover, the Good Shepherd, Jesus, lived out those words on the cross, when he laid down his life for the sheep. [1]

Now, as Peter has been commissioned to care for the sheep, a sinner as he is, he is invited to follow Jesus – to feed, to care for , and to even lay down his life for the sheep.
[1] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of the Lord, Reflections on the Gospel Readings Year C. Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 556.

3rd Sunday of Easter - C (April 14, 2013)


April 6, 2013

2nd Sunday of Easter - C

John 20: 19-31

The Missions to the Fearful Disciples

The Gospel passage begins with a specific indication of the time of the encounter between the Risen Jesus and the disciples, “On the evening of that first day of the week.”

Why is specific “that” first day of the week mentioned?

It is important for the writer, and consequently, for the readers of this passage to recognize that earlier that day, Mary of Magdala found the tomb empty, the rock removed from it. After hearing her report of what she found, Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb and found the burial cloths rolled up separately. The other disciple “saw and believed.”

After that, Mary returned to the tomb and met the Risen Jesus. She recognized him when he called her by name. He then told her to “go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

In verse 18, “Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.”

And now, in the very next verse, verse 19, we find the fearful disciples who stay behind locked doors “for fear of the Jews”

That was probably the reason for the writer to include the specific time of the encounter of the Risen Christ and the disciples.    

To these fearful disciples, Jesus came and gives them peace. 

To these unbeliever disciples, who just can't get it, Jesus came and gives them assurance.  

Moreover, Jesus commissons these fearful and unbelieving disciples to continue the mission he has received from the Father, As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

In the end, it’s not about us, whether we are strong or have enough faith or not. It is the Risen Christ who entrusts us, knowing who we are, with the mission the Father has given to him.

2nd Sunday of Easter - C (April 7, 2013)