Tuesday, April 30, 2013

6th Sunday of Easter 2013

The Word for the 6th Sunday of Easter:
        Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
        Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
        Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
        John 14:23-29

Our readings this week open with a problem… do you need to become a Jew (that is, be circumcised) before you become a follower of Jesus?  Paul and Barnabus have been traveling and spreading the Gospel, but in their wake others are traveling and preaching as well, and the community is getting mixed messages.  This story is ripe for discussion!  Were these “others” right?  What authority did they have?  Most importantly, how did the Church respond?

In addition to our reading from Acts of the Apostles, we continue our journey through John's Revelation, with yet another amazing vision of a new Jerusalem... only in this version of Jerusalem, there is no temple... what does that mean?  From there we continue our Gospel journey with John, and some very familiar words... as you read this Gospel, ask yourself why these words sound so familiar...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

5th Sunday of Easter 2013

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter:
        Acts 14:21-27
        Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
        Revelation 21:1-5a
        John 13:31-33a, 34-35

This week Jesus gives us a new commandment:  "Love one another."  Forget the 10 commandments... forget the rest of the Law, because these three words embody all these codes and more.  Jesus said, "This is how they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."  A love that is genuine pours out such that it cannot help but be noticed by others. Sounds easy... right?  Or is it?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4th Sunday of Easter 2013

This 4th Sunday of Advent is referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday, where our readings show Jesus and the Apostles defining their roles as shepherds to the world.

The Word for the 4th Sunday of Easter
        Acts 13:14, 43-52
        Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
        Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
        John 10:27-30

Our first reading from Acts of the Apostles has us traveling with Paul and Barnabas’ on their first journey to Antioch.  Their first visit to the Synagogue went so well that they are invited to come back the following week.  Our narrative opens with that visit the following week, only this time their reception is mixed.  This rejection by some of the Jews drives Paul to take their message to the Gentiles in Antioch, but the disaffected Jews manage to get the Apostles ejected from the city, thus giving rise to the phrase “shaking the dust from their feet” and moving on.  For our second reading we continue our journey through John’s Revelation, where this week we see Jesus in a vision that both evokes his roll both as the Lamb of God, and that of the Shepherd of the Lord.  This takes us to a rather short but precise Gospel passage from John where Jesus not only sets himself as shepherd of his flock, but at one with God himself (thus our focus on the Divinity of Jesus).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

3rd Sunday of Easter 2013

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter
        Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
        Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
        Revelation 5:11-14
        John 21:1-19

What does it mean to be a Christian? This is the question posed by this Sunday's readings, and as you will see, there is no simple answer. In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Twelve are brought before the Sanhedrin and beaten for preaching about Jesus, which causes us grief. In our second reading from John's Revelation, Jesus, the lamb of God, is placed a throne above all, for which we rejoice.

The real beauty of this Sunday comes with our Gospel, John's story of the resurrected Jesus appearing to Peter and the Apostles while they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. This is one of my absolute favorites, because it presents such an intimate portrait... Peter, not sure what to do at this point, says to the others, "I'm going fishing"... What a natural thing for him to do when he's troubled. Don't we all fall back on what's familiar when we don't know what else to do?  Then there's Jesus, waiting for them on the shore, cooking them breakfast. Where else in scripture do we see Jesus cooking?  A completely human act performed by our resurrected Lord.   During this encounter Jesus asks Peter, "do you love me?". Jesus asks this question three times... an opportunity to for Peter to recant the three times he denied Jesus at the Crucifixion. The depth of the meaning behind this encounter is powerful, yet personal, and challenges us all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2nd Sunday of Easter 2013

The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Easter:
        Acts 5:12-16
        Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
        Revelation 1:9-11a, 13-13, 17-19
        John 20:19-31

Our 40 day fast is over as we begin our 50 day celebration of the risen Christ!  We are indeed an Easter People.

But what exactly does that mean?  For our first reading, the entire Easter Season, we put aside the Hebrew Scriptures and focus our attention of the Acts of the Apostles... that glorious sequel to Luke's Gospel that explores the life of the Apostles and the growth of the early Church after the risen Christ departs.  How fitting for Easter!  As we cope with the meaning of Easter in our own lives, we look back to see what it meant for the Apostles.