Sixth Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles once again this Easter season furnishes the first reading. In the readings of the weekends earlier in this season, the identity of the Apostles has clearly been given.
The Apostles, absent Judas, of course, had exercised the very power of Jesus in naming a new member of their group, Matthias, who succeeded the dead Judas. Peter healed the sick. On behalf of the Apostles, Peter spoke as Jesus had spoken.
It was not just simply that the Apostles had been with Jesus as specially selected students and followers, but the Lord commissioned them to discharge divine power itself, and thus they continued the mission of Jesus the Redeemer.
In this reading, clarifying this identity continues. While Acts already has clearly established that Peter was the head of the Apostles, the character of Apostleship also belonged with the others.
For this reading, the central figures are Philip and John. They performed miracles, as Jesus had performed miracles. They were part of the community of Apostles, then centered in Jerusalem, gathered around and beside Peter.
This Apostles in Jerusalem sent Philip and John to Samaria. Just as Jesus had granted salvation to the Samaritan woman, among other foreigners, the Apostles looked to the salvation of all people. In this case, as had the Lord, Philip and John took salvation to Samaritans. Later, Apostles would go much farther afield, bearing with them the mercy and power of Christ.
They began the brilliant history of evangelization in the Church, still a fact, and a goal, for Catholics.
The second reading is from the First Epistle of Peter. This reading is a strong, joyful, and enthusiastic proclamation of Jesus as Lord, calling believers to listen to the Lord and to follow the Lord. The Lord should be in their hearts and minds.
St. John’s Gospel furnishes the last reading. Not a Resurrection Narrative, it nonetheless serves the Church’s purpose as it teaches us this weekend. After celebrating the Resurrection for these weeks since Easter, the Church is summoning us to look at our lives.
This reading is our blueprint for life. Our task as disciples is to love others as Jesus loved all. It is crystal clear. In God’s love, given to us in the Lord, is our salvation.
Indeed, the very act of providing us with a blueprint for living is a vitally important gift given in love to us by God.
The next major liturgical event for us will be the celebration of the feast of the Ascension of Jesus. Soon after this feast, we will celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Within sight now is the close of the Easter season.
Already, for weeks, the Church has informed us of the Resurrection of Jesus, gloriously occurring after the dreadful events of Good Friday. It has shared with us its joy, copying the joy of the first Christians. It has reported again and again of the Risen Lord’s appearances and admonitions.
Gently, gradually, but emphatically, the Church has begun the process of leading us in our day to ask what the Resurrection truly means for each of us individually. Is it an anniversary, or for each of us a personal experience?
The Church will reassure us. Contact with Jesus was not lost with the Ascension, when Jesus returned to the Father. Contact remains, and it remains very clearly in the visible, institutional Church, standing with the Apostles. This link with Peter and the other Apostles also is God’s gift to us.
Through the Church we hear again the words of Christ. In the Church’s sacraments, we still access Christ’s eternal strength and life.
These readings call us to peace, hope and goodness. Absolutely, they teach us about life and how to live.
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.