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6th Sunday of Easter 2010 :: op-stjoseph.org

6th Sunday of Easter 2010 :: op-stjoseph.org

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Sixth Sunday of Easter (Cycle C) – May 9, 2010 Scripture Readings First Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2, 22-29 Second Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23 Gospel

John 14:23-29 Prepared by: Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, OP 1. Subject Matter • The Spirit is Christ’s gift of his peace to his Church.
• • The Spirit continues to speak in the world through the Magisterium. The Church on earth is a prefigurement of the new and eternal Jerusalem.

2. Exegetical Notes • “This episode [15:1] falls designedly in the middle of Acts, for it is the turning point of Luke’s story, when the apostolic and presbyteral college of Jerusalem officially recognizes the evangelization of the Gentiles, which has been initiated by Peter, Barnabas and Paul. Thus the Christian Church officially breaks out of its Jewish matrix. (Jerome Biblical Commentary) •
It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us: “The true guide of the Church as it spreads from Jerusalem directs the work of authorities making the decision.” (Jerome Biblical Commentary) “The invocation of the Holy Spirit as a partner to the decision has an odd sound to contemporary ears, but it nicely captures the dynamics of the process as portrayed by Luke.” (See also, Acts 13:1-3) (Sacra Pagina) “the Glory of God: God’s presence, filling the Church, transfigures her. like jasper: The details of this description indicate that the glory of the Church is being compared with its source, the glory of the Lord.” (Jerome Biblical Commentary) “The Temple was the focal point of the historical Jerusalem, for there God dwelt among his people; hence Ezekiel (40-48) could not conceive of an ideal Jerusalem without the Temple, and John himself has previously spoken of a temple in heaven (11:19; 14:15, 17; 16:5-16:1). But God’s presence in the new world is not bounded by temple walls (Jn 4:21, 24); the glory of God completely permeates the city.” (Jerome Biblical Commentary) “Jesus concludes his words of consolation [Jn 27]. ‘Peace’ (shalom) was and is the common Jewish formula of greeting and farewell. The word had a much deeper significance, however, as an expression of harmony and communion with God that was the seal of the covenant (cf. Nm 6:26). Hence it came to have an eschatological and messianic meaning (cf. Is 9:6), virtually the same as ‘salvation.’ It is this spiritual tranquility that Christ gives, which has no resemblance to what the world gives. Because Christ is this gift that he gives, Eph 2:14 can call him ‘our preace.’” (Jerome Biblical Commentary) “The peace of Jesus flows from his oneness with his Father, his return to the Father from whence he came, and the authority he has with the Father, so that whatever is asked in his name will be given. The gift of peace, therefor is intimately associated with the gift of the Spirit-

Paraclete, the ongoing presence of Jesus in his absence, the source of the disciples’ being loved by the Father and the Son, the agent for ongoing revelation of both Jesus and the Father to the one who loves Jesus and keeps his commandments in the in-between-time.” (Sacra Pagina)

3. References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church • 117 “[In the anagogical sense of Scripture,] we can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.” •
260 “The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity. But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: ‘If a man loves me’, says the Lord, ‘he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him’” 756 “Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.” 765 “The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot. By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.” 1045 “For man, [the final consummation of creation] will be the final realization of the unity of the human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has been ‘in the nature of sacrament.’ Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, ‘the holy city’ of God, ‘the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing wellspring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion.” 1099 “The Spirit and the Church cooperate to manifest Christ and his work of salvation in the liturgy. Primarily in the Eucharist, and by analogy in the other sacraments, the liturgy is the memorial of the mystery of salvation. The Holy Spirit is the Church's living memory.”

4. Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities • Ignatius of Antioch: “As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavor that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.”
• Cyprian: “The son of peace ought to seek peace and ensue it. He who knows and loves the bond of charity, ought to refrain his tongue from the evil of dissension. Among His divine commands 2

and salutary teachings, the Lord, when He was now very near to His passion, added this one, saying, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.’ (John 14:27). He gave this to us as a heritage; He promised all the gifts and rewards of which He spoke through the preservation of peace. If we are fellow-heirs with Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are sons of God, we ought to be peacemakers. ‘Blessed,’ says He, ‘are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.’ (Matt. 5:9). It behooves the sons of God to be peacemakers, gentle in heart, simple in speech, agreeing in affection, faithfully linked to one another in the bonds of unanimity.” • St. Basil the Great: “[The Spirit is] in essence simple, in powers various, wholly present in each and being wholly everywhere; impassively divided, shared without loss of ceasing to be entire, after the likeness of the sunbeam, whose kindly light falls on him who enjoys it as though it shone for him alone, yet illumines land and sea and mingles with the air. So, too, is the Spirit to everyone who receives It, as though given to him alone, and yet It sends forth grace sufficient and full for all mankind, and is enjoyed by all who share It, according to the capacity, not of Its power, but of their nature.” Bede: “The city has no need of sun or moon because the Church is not governed by the light or the elements of the world. Rather, it is led through the darkness of the world by Christ, the eternal Sun.” St. Thomas Aquinas: “Obedience follows from charity; and so he says, he will keep my word. Gregory says: ‘The proof of love is one's actions. Love for God is never lazy: if it is present it accomplishes great things; if it refuses to work, it is not love.’[42] For the will, especially when it is concerned with an end, moves the other powers to their actions: for a person does not rest until he does those things which will bring him to his intended end, especially if it is intensely desired. And so, when a person's will is intent on God, who is its end, it moves all powers to do those things which obtain him. Now it is charity which makes one intent on God, and thus it is charity which causes us to keep the commandments: ‘The love of Christ controls us’ (2 Cor 5:14); ‘Its flashes are flashes of fire’ (Song 8:6). And through obedience a person is rendered fit to see God: ‘Through your precepts,’ that is, as kept by me, ‘I get understanding’ (Ps 119:104). Again, ‘I understood more than the aged’ (Ps 119:100).” Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio: “The Holy Spirit is indeed the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission. His action is preeminent in the mission ad gentes, as can clearly be seen in the early Church: in the conversion of Cornelius (cf. Acts 10), in the decisions made about emerging problems (cf. Acts 15) and in the choice of regions and peoples to be evangelized (cf. Acts 16:6ff). The Spirit worked through the apostles, but at the same time he was also at work in those who heard them: ‘Through his action the Good News takes shape in human minds and hearts and extends through history. In all of this it is the Holy Spirit who gives life.’” Lumen Gentium: “Since the kingdom of Christ is not of this world the Church or people of God in establishing that kingdom takes nothing away from the temporal welfare of any people. On the contrary it fosters and takes to itself, insofar as they are good, the ability, riches and customs in which the genius of each people expresses itself. Taking them to itself it purifies, strengthens, elevates and ennobles them. The Church in this is mindful that she must bring together the nations for that king to whom they were given as an inheritance, and to whose city they bring gifts and offerings. This characteristic of universality which adorns the people of God is a gift from the Lord Himself. By reason of it, the Catholic Church strives constantly and with due effect to bring all humanity and all its possessions back to its source In Christ, with Him as its head and united in His Spirit.”


Pope Pius XI: “If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth--he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ!”

5. Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars • In 1572, as Calvinism raged across the low countries of Europe, a number of Catholic priests were rounded up in Gorkum, Netherlands. Among the numerous priests and religious was one Joannes van Hoornaer, a Dominican priest from the Cologne Province, who went to administer the sacraments to the captured priests until he himself was imprisoned. The men were imprisoned and tortured and promised freedom only if they would deny the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the doctrine of papal primacy. None of the priests would deny his faith and all were hanged. •
In the reading from Acts, we learn of the first Council of the Church, the so-called Council of Jerusalem. Through the various Councils, the Church has clarified her doctrine and reformed her members. In the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople we have developed the Creed we continue to say at Mass. In the Council of Chalcedon we have the definitive theological definition of the natures of Jesus Christ. The Fourth Lateran and Tridentine Councils sought major reforms of ecclesial life and discipline. Of course, more recently, in the first Vatican Council we saw the elaboration of the doctrine of papal primacy and the teaching authority of the Pope.

In addition to the great Councils, the Church has also seen arise great saints whose lives and work implemented the thought and scope of the Council. In our own day, the Second Vatican Council reminded the Church of the Spirit’s presence in all of her members, and the universal call to holiness. In response, St. Josemaria Escriva established one of the most active lay groups in the Church today. He saw in the life of the individual Catholic working in his own local church the action of the Church universal. “The Holy Spirit is present in the Church of Christ for all time, so that it may be, always and in everything, a sign raised up before all nations, announcing to all men the goodness and the love of God. In spite of our great limitations, we can look up to heaven with confidence and joy: God loves us and frees us from our sins. The presence and the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church are a foretaste of eternal happiness, of the joy and peace for which we are destined by God.”

6. Quotations from Pope Benedict XVI • “To the Holy Spirit and to us. The Spirit accompanies the Church on her long pilgrimage between Christ’s first and second coming. “I go away, and I will come to you” (Jn 14,28), Jesus tells his Apostles. Between Christ’s “going away” and his “return” is the time of the Church, his Body. Two thousand years have passed so far…filling believers with Christ’s life through the sacraments and sowing in these lands the good seed of the Gospel, which has yielded thirty, sixty and a hundredfold. The time of the Church, the time of the Spirit: the Spirit is the Teacher who trains disciples: he teaches them to love Jesus; he trains them to hear his word and to contemplate his countenance; he conforms them to Christ’s sacred humanity, a humanity which is poor in spirit, afflicted, meek, hungry for justice, merciful, pure in heart, peacemaking, persecuted for justice’s sake (cf. Mt 5,3-10). By the working of the Holy Spirit, Jesus becomes the “Way” along which the disciple walks. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word”, Jesus says at the beginning of today’s Gospel. “The word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (JN 14,23-24). Just as Jesus makes known the words of the Father, so the Spirit reminds the Church of Christ’s own words (cf. Jn 14,26). And just as love of the Father led Jesus to feed

on his will, so our love for Jesus is shown by our obedience to his words. Jesus’ fidelity to the Father’s will can be communicated to his disciples through the Holy Spirit, who pours the love of God into their hearts (cf. Rom 5,5). • “[T]he heavenly Jerusalem is the icon of the Church, utterly holy and glorious, without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5,27), permeated at her heart and in every part of her by the presence of the God who is Love. This magnificent icon has an eschatological value: it expresses the mystery of the beauty that is already the essential form of the Church, even if it has not yet arrived at its fullness. It is the goal of our pilgrimage, the homeland which awaits us and for which we long. Seeing that beauty with the eyes of faith, contemplating it and yearning for it, must not serve as an excuse for avoiding the historical reality in which the Church lives as she shares the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially those who are poor or afflicted (cf. Gaudium et Spes 1). If the beauty of the heavenly Jerusalem is the glory of God—his love in other words—then it is in charity, and in charity alone, that we can approach it and to a certain degree dwell within it even now. Whoever loves the Lord Jesus and keeps his word, already experiences in this world the mysterious presence of the Triune God. We heard this in the Gospel: ‘we will come to him and make our home with him’ (Jn 14,23). Every Christian is therefore called to become a living stone of this splendid ‘dwelling place of God with men’. What a magnificent vocation!”

7. Other Considerations • This day is also Mother’s Day. Also, In Dioceses where Ascension Thursday is celebrated in place of the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the readings from the Seventh Sunday of Easter may be used on this day.
• Before his Ascension into heaven and his return to the Father, Christ promises to send his peace to his disciples in the Church. That peace is not simply the lack of hostility. Rather, it is the harmony brought by the union of man with God, a reflection of the Trinitarian union of persons that is the one God. It is love (caritas) especially in which we see the bonds of unity. Thus, it is the presence of the Spirit, the very fruit of divine love, who is that guarantor of that unity. It is seen in a visible way in the unity of the Church, which is “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic”. Thus, it is in the unity of faith and love that binds the individual Christian to his local bishop and through him the college of Bishops united with the Pope that we find the unity of the Spirit’s presence. In our exaggeratedly individualistic era, it is often difficult for many Christians to see the Christian life in ecclesial and communal terms, but this must be the primary lens through which it is lived. The Christian life is the one of ongoing communion, made possible in our communion in the very body of Christ in the Eucharist, but which itself presupposes the common union of faith and ecclesial life. Likewise, the true unity of all men cannot be found in the utopian promises of ideology and multi-cultural tolerance, but only in Jesus Christ.

Biblia Clerus: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerus/index_eng.html Jerome Biblical Commentary Benedict XVI, Pope. Benedictus. Yonkers: Magnificat, 2006. Cameron, Peter John. To Praise, To Bless, To Preach—Cycle C. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000. Works of St. Thomas: http://dhspriory.org/thomas Hahn, Scott: Homily Helps. 5

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