Easter V [C] (4/28/13): Acts 14: 21-27; Rev 21: 1-5; Jn 13: 31-33, 34-35
Someone once said that the purpose of a sermon is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Jesus’ preaching had this effect. He comforted the suffering, the sick and oppressed. But he also made the Pharisees and Sadducees very uncomfortable.
In today’s second reading Paul and Barnabas tell us that the way to the
lies through many afflictions – reminiscent, of course of Jesus’ remarks to his
disciples that they should strive to enter through the narrow door (Lk 13.24,Mat
7.13). Kingdom of God
When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified. What is the relationship between Judas’ going out and Jesus’ glory? Because Judas went out to conspire with the Jews to crucify Jesus. Jesus’ glory came through his cross and crucifixion. And that is the pattern of any Christian’s glory too. That is why Paul and Barnabas tell the early Christians that "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the
In other words, only through the Cross can we reach the Resurrection; only through self-sacrificing love can we experience true Christian joy.
The old order - that's our order. That's our life here and now in the
on earth. It will pass away;
it won't always be like this. But for the time being, it's full of wailing
and weeping, mourning and pain. pilgrim Church
Our society is so obsessed with pleasure, comfort, health, youth, and appearances that sometimes even we Christians forget about that, and we start thinking that the only meaningful life is a painless life.
The examples of the saints can remind us that, in fact, just the opposite is true: only through the Cross can we reach the Light.
Blessed Lydwina [LIHD-vine-ah] of
is a case in point. She lived in the 1400s. She was a pretty,
vivacious 15-year-old, until she got into an ice-skating accident and ran
into complications during her recovery. For the next thirty-eight
years she never left her sickroom. God sent her a rare and gruesome cross:
Her flesh began to rot. She had agonizing headaches, constantly recurring fits
of vomiting, unending fevers, maddening thirst, spasms of pain in every part of
her body - it was as if she were already decaying in the grave, while she
remained conscious to experience it. Holland
At first, she felt anger and revulsion at her suffering. But gradually she learned that God was asking her to suffer for the reparation of others' sins.
Her confessor visited her frequently, taught her to meditate on our Lord's passion, and frequently brought her Holy Communion - which was her only food for the last 13 years of her life. As she recognized and embraced her life's mission, she began to add voluntary sufferings to the ones God had sent her (sleeping on boards instead of on a bed, for example).God rewarded her by giving her powers of healing (healing others’ sickness), prophecy, and special visions. Lydwina's specific vocation was uncommon, but its pattern is the same for every Christian vocation, ours included: through Cross to resurrection.
Death has a new meaning now not only for Jesus but for us too, and life can have a new meaning for us, if we allow it to be shaped by this new commandment. Love one another as I have loved you.
When I love I make myself vulnerable, and if I am afraid of that, I won't love. I will dream and sentimentalize instead. So, to love as Jesus loved means to make ourselves vulnerable and willing to be hurt.
In other words, we must walk the way of love, loving one another as Jesus loved us, and still loves us, pouring out his life for us now in the food which is his body and the chalice of his blood. This life of love that he calls us to lead is indeed a glorious life and a joyful one, but it is still a life overshadowed by death. We must allow to die every day, so that we may truly live, and follow Christ along the path of glory through the open door into the life of God. In the face of pain and struggles let’s always remember that the way to resurrection passes through the pain of the cross.