Apr 23, 2016

Fifth Sunday of Easter


Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35

Stain begone! Keeping your whites white!

This portion of the Gospel we have listened to begins with the departure of Judas from the Upper Room and his descent into the darkness of the street. His mind made up to betray the Lord. Christ remarks “now is the Son of Man glorified”. Is not Christ glorified while he performed the miracles, in his cross, or by his resurrection? Why “now”, with the simple departure of Judas from the Upper Room?

Keep in mind the second reading, from the Book of Revelation (John 21: 1-5) when we hear that John “saw a new heaven and a new earth.” Now that the traitor Judas had left the sacred company of the other apostles and had departed that sacred space where the Church would gather to celebrate the sacrament of Christ’s priesthood, now it is finally possible to “taste” the glory that awaits the whole world on the great day of Judgment. On that day when all enemies of God will be cast away, the glory of the Lord will shine without distraction.

Even liturgically we spell this out. When we gather together in this sacred place where heaven and earth are renewed, do we not first confess our sins – sending “Judas” out into the darkness, so we can celebrate this sacrament of love in all its glory and without distraction?

Notice what we do before baptism.  We first reject sin, then embrace our faith, and then one is baptized. Keeping our baptismal garment clean is a lifetime event!

How do we do this? Christ gives us a “new commandment” to love one another. Is that new? Is that not an old commandment?  It is a new commandment because Christ tells us to “love one another as I have loved you”. It is new because Christ tells us to imitate his love, which is not a natural love. It is supernatural. It is sacrificial. It is a love that endures through good times and bad. It is a love that gives life, sometimes painfully – but always beautifully. That’s the Cross and resurrection.

Let us ask our blessed Mother Mary, to encourage us to love as Christ did. But not only this. To bear the name of Christian is to be mistaken for Christ, by the way we choose to live, by the decisions we make.  May the cleansing power of the Sacrament of Confession and the strength of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ keep the flame of our Christian charity burning brightly through the grace of compassion we have for the world and the salvations of souls.

(Note - Here it will be helpful to study and reflect on the virtue of charity, modeled perfectly in Christ. Para 1822 - 1829 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is particulary helpful.)

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