Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 6, 2018 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We live in a post-Christian world, which means that Christianity is no longer the dominant civil religion. The place formerly occupied by Christianity is being usurped by a secularist ideology. In the secularist ideology, the media and entertainment industries serve as instruments of indoctrination. Redefinition of marriage and attacks on religious freedom are examples of this process.

In such a context, the Church’s voice is resented by many. It is not surprising that a major newspaper published a full-page ad entitled “It’s Time to Quit the Catholic Church,” an open letter inviting Catholics to quit the Church and “join those of us who put humanity above dogma.”

The mentality of the post-Christian world does not understand the Church and its teachings because Christ has been forgotten. He has become not a presence but a relic of the past. However, such a mentality can also be inside us. We could be inside the Church and still think in a worldly way. The media and the opinion makers easily influence our thinking.

When Pope Benedict celebrated a Mass in New York’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, he used its beautiful stained glass windows as a metaphor to explain the mystery of the Church: “The first has to do with the stained glass windows, which flood the interior with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor. […] It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit. […] This is no easy task in a world which can tend to look at the Church, like those stained glass windows, ‘from the outside’: a world which deeply senses a need for spirituality, yet finds it difficult to ‘enter into’ the mystery of the Church. Even for those of us within, the light of faith can be dimmed by routine, and the splendor of the Church obscured by the sins and weaknesses of her members. It can be dimmed, too, by the obstacles encountered in a society which sometimes seems to have forgotten God and to resent even the most elementary demands of Christian morality” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, April 19, 2008).

We always need to pass from the “outside” to the “inside.” It is in our encounter with Christ that we find the beauty and truth of our faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete” (Jn 15:11). Jesus came to give us joy, to bring light and color to our lives. In the second reading, Saint John says: “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him” (1 Jn 4:9). Jesus brought new life to this world, a different way of living.

The experience of joy and life that comes from Christ allows us to have a creative presence in our secular world. The experience of the encounter with Christ frees us from becoming reactionaries or mundane. There are two risks: the first is to merely react against the dominant mentality, to have only a negative position; the second is to think in the same way as the world.

In our times, we are called to bear witness to the joy of the faith. We need to show that by following Jesus, our lives become more human and happy. It is the positivity of faith that allows us to be builders of a new civilization of love.

Let us ask Our Blessed Mother, whom we venerate in a special way during this month of May, to protect the Church and help us experience the joy of faith.  Amen.

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