Skip to main content

7th Sunday of Easter

The End.  When we reach the end of a book or a film, we sometimes see these words telling us that our journey through this particular story has concluded.  As our journey through the Easter Season comes to a close, our readings for the 7th Sunday definitely give us a feeling that we have reached the conclusion of a story:

Acts 7:55-60
Psalm 97:1-2, 6-7, 9
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
John 17:20-26

Our first reading continues our journey through the Acts of the Apostles, but actually takes a step to Chapter 7 and a time before Paul makes his appearance.  Here we meet Stephen, a deacon in the church of Jerusalem and a fierce defender of the faith.  He has been arrested and is standing trial in front of the Sanhedrin.  During this trial Stephen is boldly condemning the Jewish authorities for being blind to prophecy, giving a long discourse that takes us from the patriarchs of Genesis to Moses to Jesus.  Our passage begins with Stephens closing words, and the Sanhedrin can hear no more.  Stephen is ordered out of the city and stoned to death.  The Church recognizes St. Stephen is the protomartyr… the first martyr for the Christian faith.  An interesting side-note to this reading is that the Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus (whom we would eventually come to know as St. Paul) was witness to this event.

Though the death of Stephen is tragic, our Psalm reflects the heart of his message to the Sanhedrin, and the joy he felt through the Holy Spirit when we sing, “The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.” 

Our second reading brings our study of the book of Revelation to an end with some passages from the book’s conclusion.  Here John, imprisoned on Patmos island, hears a voice that says, “Behold, I am coming soon.”  The great battle between good and evil has been fought and won.  John’s visions for the past two weeks has shown us that God and the Lamb were victorious, and those dressed in their robes washed white in the blood the Lamb are being told to come and receive life-giving water.  John is telling us, the Baptized, that Christ is coming soon to claim us for his own and bring us to salvation.

Our Gospel from John gives us a passage from the conclusion of the Last Supper discourse.  Jesus has known that this moment is the beginning of the end for his time on Earth, so he’s taken this final opportunity with his Apostles to tell them what they need to know (to love one another).  In proper fashion Jesus concludes with a prayer to his Father, praying that the Father will be known through his disciples through him.  As is typical of John’s Gospel, this prayer is both spiritual and catechetical, explaining the intertwined relationship between him and the Father, and how through them (the disciples), the Father can become known through their love.

Final thoughts:

It is a little sad that many of us won’t get to spend time with these readings because many diocese shift the celebration of the Ascension to the 7th Sunday of Easter, because these readings serve as a fitting conclusion to our Easter Season because they present to us a moment of transition.  Our story is coming to an end, but as with all endings, they also serve as transitions to new beginnings.  It is the ultimate metaphor for Baptism, where sacramentally we die to our old selves and become new creations:  reborn in the light and life of Christ.  We join in Christ’s victory over evil and death to become a part of the new Heaven and the new Earth.

As we conclude the Easter Season in Lectionary Cycle C we also conclude our extended study of the Book of Revelation.  There is no question that John’s Revelation is one of the most hotly debated books of the Bible, and has been since the beginning when the Church fathers in the 3rd Century debated whether it should be included in the canon.  As I’ve spent more time with this book, I can see why they opted to keep it in.  For as fantastical the story is, for however much it is shrouded in symbolism, in the end it is a story of Jesus’ triumph over death.  And this triumph extends to all of us who follow Christ.  For all the difficulties we face, whether in the past, right now, or sometime in the future, ultimately, in the end, we win.  When things are most desperate, how comforting to know that with the love of Christ we will attain salvation!


Popular posts from this blog

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…

4th Sunday of Lent

This Sunday we continue our Lenten journey through Salvation History with a continued focus on covenant.  We’ve already given witness to the covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  This week we turn our attention to the Davidic Covenant (the covenant with King David), or more accurately, the covenant with the monarchy of Israel.

The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21

Our first reading comes from the end of the 2nd book of Chronicles.  Though our intent this Sunday is to remember the Davidic Covenant, our Lectionary has chosen an interesting approach.  Rather than give us a story about King David, we are presented with a story  from the end of the Babylonian Exile.  Why approach the covenant with David from this tail-end view? 

It’s an approach that actually fits very well with the Book of Chronicles, for you see, the Book of Chronicles is much more than a retelling of the story we heard in books …

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…