Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 19, 2019
Fr. José Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Chaplain, Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to be glorified through his passion and death: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (Jn 13:31). Moreover, he tells us that his suffering is an act of love and invites us to follow him by loving one another, as he has loved us: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you should love one another” (Jn 13:34).

Only after the resurrection did these words make sense. In the light of the resurrection, we see that suffering and death in Christ have become a path for the fulfillment of life. This helps us understand Paul and Barnabas’ words: “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

The kingdom of God is a glorious kingdom. As today’s psalm says: “Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might” (Ps 145).

The Paschal mystery renews everything. God’s glory is newness without end. Today’s second reading says: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Faith allows us to see the newness of God in all things. As Saint John says: “I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1).

Suffering in Christ opens our hearts to the new reality that started on Easter morning. To pass from what was old to what is new is painful. We are still attached to what is precarious and mortal. Thus, we cannot detach ourselves from what is old without dying in spiritual terms. We need to be born again. We need to drown our old selves in the waters of baptism and emerge as new creatures. Today’s second reading says: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away” (Rev 21:4).

Christian life is a path of glorification. Let us ask for the grace to accept hardships, not as obstacles to our happiness, but as means for the fulfillment of our lives. May the Queen of Heaven, who rejoices in the resurrection of her son, help us to face all adversity with hope.  Amen.

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Sunday Reading Meditations