Tag Archives: 2019-05

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 7:55-60
Stephen is martyred as Saul looks on.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 97:1-2,6-7,9
The Lord is king over all the earth.

Second Reading
Revelation 22:12-14,16-17,20
Come, Lord Jesus.

Gospel Reading
John 17:20-26
Jesus prays for his disciples.

Background on the Gospel Reading

On the seventh Sunday of Easter, we always read from the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel. This chapter of John’s Gospel comes at the conclusion of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse delivered to the disciples at the Last Supper. The whole of this chapter is a prayer of Jesus, commending himself to the Father and expressing his care and concern for his disciples. At the end of this prayer, Jesus and his disciples depart for the garden, and Jesus is arrested.

Several important themes appear in this prayer of Jesus. First, Jesus’ prayer reaffirms the complete union between Jesus and the Father. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus has been presented as the one who pre-existed with the Father and as the one sent by the Father to do his work on earth. In today’s reading, we hear Jesus ask that the unity he experiences with the Father be extended to all who believe in him. He prays that we be one with each other, with him, and with the Father. We are reminded that Christ is the source of Christian unity. Through Christ, we are united with one another and with God our Father.

Belief is a major theme in the Gospel of John. It begins in the prologue and continues in the response to Jesus’ signs. Belief is the reason Jesus performs signs (2:11, 4:53, 6:69, 9:38) and the reason signs have been recorded in the Gospel (20:30-31). Here Jesus prays not only for those who believe in him but for all who will come to believe in him. And he prays that the love of the Father in him may also be in all who believe so that Jesus might be in them as well.loyolapress.com

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2,22-29
The early Church community determines, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not to impose the requirement of circumcision on Gentile Christians.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8
A prayer that all the nations sing praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:10-14,22-23
The vision of the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem is described.

Gospel Reading
John 14:23-29
Jesus promises his disciples that the Father will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

Background on the Gospel Reading

This portion of John’s Gospel comes near the end of the first of four chapters that make up Jesus’ long farewell discourse at the Last Supper. This section of chapter 14 actually sums up the themes of the opening of the discourse: the Christian’s life is not shaped by Jesus’ absence but by God’s abiding presence; God’s presence overcomes anxiety about God’s absence; and the present holds in it the seeds of a fresh future shaped by love, not fear.

These verses also contain a glimpse of some of the other themes of the farewell discourse: Jesus’ relationship with the Father and the disciples’ relationship to Jesus connect the disciples to the Father as well. Jesus promises to send an Advocate or intercessor who will remind the disciples of everything that Jesus taught them and bring them peace.

Jesus is preparing his disciples in advance for his absence so that they will continue to believe in him and not feel all alone after his return to the Father. After the initial excitement of his Easter appearances, Jesus will remain with his followers in a very different way throughout the centuries.

As our celebration of the Easter season is coming to an end, the liturgy reminds us that Jesus remains with us through the Holy Spirit, who teaches us everything we need to know, reminds us of all that Jesus taught, and brings us peace.-loyolapress.com

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 14:21-27
Paul and Barnabas proclaim the good news in many places.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145:8-9,10-11,12-13
A song of praise to God.

Second Reading
Revelation 21:1-5a
John describes his vision of a new heaven and a new earth.

Gospel Reading
John 13:31-33a,34-35
Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment: love one another.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today’s Gospel again comes from the Gospel of John. Like last week, today we hear words spoken by Jesus before his death and Resurrection. Jesus is teaching at the Last Supper.

John’s Gospel does not include an institution of the Eucharist narrative; instead, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. Immediately after, Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas. Today’s Gospel follows that prediction. It can be read as a continuing explanation of Jesus’ act of washing his disciples’ feet. It begins with the announcement that this is the moment when the Son of Man will be glorified. This theme continues throughout John’s Passion. Jesus will be glorified in his death on the cross and in his Resurrection, and the disciples will glorify Jesus in the love they show.

John’s Gospel does not present a sentimental view of love. This is a type of love that is shown in service and sacrifice. It is difficult to choose to love when faced with hatred and anger. Jesus tells the disciples that all will know that they are his disciples because of the love they show for one another. This description of the early Christian community will be repeated in the Acts of the Apostles: “See how they love one another.” Christian love is the hallmark of Christianity. We see it lived in the witness of the martyrs. We see it in the example of the lives of the saints. We see it in the holy women and men who live and love daily, making small and large sacrifices for others.-loyolapress.com

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

First Reading
Acts of the Apostles 13:14,43-52
Paul and Barnabas preach the good news among the Gentiles and are expelled by the Jews.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 100:1-2,3,5
A song in praise of God who shepherds us.

Second Reading
Revelation 7:9,14b-17
John describes his vision of the praises that the holy ones sing to the Lamb.

Gospel Reading
John 10:27-30
Jesus describes his care for his sheep.

Background on the Gospel Reading

The fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday. In each of the three lectionary cycles, the Gospel is taken from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John. This chapter of John’s Gospel follows Jesus’ healing of the man born blind and the rejection of this miracle by Jewish leaders who question Jesus’ authority to heal. Jesus responds to this challenge to his authority by calling himself the Good Shepherd. He is criticizing the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders. Already, the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders are so angered that they attempt to stone and arrest Jesus (see John 10:31 and 10:39). This controversy with the religious leaders continues until Jesus’ death.

Set in a moment of tension and conflict in John’s Gospel, today’s Gospel reading is Jesus’ answer to the question, “Are you the Messiah?” Jesus responds by saying, in essence, “If you have to ask, then you are not one of my sheep.” Then Jesus asserts his unity with the Father. At the conclusion of these words, John reports that the Jews intend to stone Jesus for blasphemy, but he escapes arrest.

We may be less familiar with the metaphors of sheep and shepherd than those to whom Jesus spoke. The image of Jesus as Good Shepherd and the community of followers as his sheep has endured over the centuries as a primary image in our faith tradition. Its power to describe the relationship between Jesus and his followers transcends direct experience with sheep. The image speaks to us about the protection, security, and care that shepherds represent for their sheep.

Today’s Gospel speaks powerfully about the familiarity and intimacy between Jesus and his disciples, expressed as recognizing and knowing another’s voice. Today’s Gospel also speaks to the relationship between Jesus and the Father. In the Gospel of John, Jesus identifies so closely with the Father that he tells us that they are one—not just close, but actually one. To know Jesus is to know the Father. Jesus doesn’t just bring us closer to the Father, Jesus puts us directly into contact with God the Father, removing all distance between us. Our relationship with Jesus is an invitation to share in the life of God.– loyolapress.com

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