GOSPEL MESSAGE

May 15, 2022

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

We Are Found

As Jesus in today’s gospel prepares the disciples for his imminent departure, he tells them that they will look for him but won’t be able to join him where he is going. It will not be long before the women are at the tomb in the early morning, only to find it empty.

We also look for Jesus, but perhaps we don’t know that we are engaged in the search. We are constantly seeking purpose and answers, turning to self-help books, inspirational videos, exercise programs, and new ways of organizing our stuff. Billboards and magazine covers highlight our flaws while offering the next best solution to make us happy and well.

These opportunities can be compelling, and some of them will prove successful in managing some aspects of life. But these solutions don’t turn up what we’re really looking for: to be truly loved and known, secure and whole. We find this security only in the love of God. Yet, in this Easter season we are reminded that we do not need to seek Jesus; rather, Jesus seeks out and finds us. We cannot go where Jesus goes, leading the way through death to new life, but Jesus ultimately finds us wherever we are, even when we are most lost. The women found an empty tomb, but Jesus is not gone. The resurrected Jesus finds them!

In finding us, Jesus also directs our searching by giving us a commandment: “Love one another” (John 13:34). In seeking to love one another, we are reminded again and again that the great love of God has already found us.

From sundaysandseasons.com.

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The Readings in the Bible

John 13:31-35

John’s gospel, written probably in the mid-90s, is comprised of two parts: chapters 1–12, sometimes called the Book of Signs, and chapters 13–20 (21), the Book of Glory. The Book of Glory opens (chap. 13) with the sign of the footwashing and its interpretation, which is a short discourse on the meaning of glory. What in the late first century was a scandal for the Christian movement—Jesus’ passion and crucifixion—is here described as the glory of the apocalyptic Son of Man and thus also of God. The love that binds together the Father with the Son is now to bind together the members of the community. For such love, the passion was necessary: thus the surprising use of the category “glory.”

Acts 11:1-18

Acts 1–9 has focused on the mission to Jews in and around Jerusalem; today’s excerpt is part of the second half of Acts, beginning with chapter 10, which describes the Gentile mission throughout the Roman Empire. In this excerpt, which repeats 10:10-16, Luke relies on his talent for narrative to convey the Christian movement’s increasing openness to Gentiles. Christians are released from the primary markers of Jewish observance, male circumcision (v. 3) and the keeping of kosher (v. 9). As if in Luke’s time a controversy about Gentile inclusion still remained, the baptizing of Gentiles is credited to obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 21:1-6

In apocalyptic literature, the present situation is so intractable that God will have to intervene to destroy evil and establish a new and just world order. Thus in the conclusion of the book of Revelation, when God has destroyed all evil and the final judgment is complete, God recreates the cosmos. The sea, that symbol of danger and the home of the mythical monster, is eliminated. Perfection is described as a city in which God and humankind reside together. God, who created at the beginning, now creates at the end. The reference to water suggests the importance of baptism among the Asian Christian communities.