Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

During the current pandemic, we tend to think more about the finitude of life, the hereafter and the meaning of life.

Today’s Gospel tells us that we are pilgrims going toward God. Life in this world is a journey to the Father’s house. Our destiny is to see God as he is. As Saint John says, “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2). The fullness of the joy of eternal life is unimaginable.

We come to the Father through Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). Jesus is the way because he sacrificed his life for us. The Paschal Mystery opened the path that leads us to the fulfillment of life. As Psalm 16 says, “you will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever” (Ps 16:11).The Devil wants us to get lost along the way. Today’s second reading describes our journey as a passage from darkness to light (cf. 1 Pt 2:9). We need to choose God and to renounce and rebuke the enemy of our happiness. We need to choose light and reject darkness.

Salvation is God’s gift to us. However, it is not magic. We need to welcome this gift with the entirety of our being. Jesus is the way but we need to make his way ours as we walk his path.

Jesus’ sacrifice saves us. However, we need to participate in his sacrifice through our personal sacrifices. We are called to repair our own sins and those of the world. In Fatima, Our Lady told the three shepherd children: “Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, this is for love of thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”

In today’s second reading, Saint Peter admonishes us “to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pt 2:5). The last part of the sentence, “through Jesus Christ,” is very important. We accept the sacrifices life requires of us or make sacrifices in order for Christ’s sacrifice, the power of his resurrection and his light to reach everyone. Our sacrifices do not save people directly but allow Jesus to manifest his salvation.

Today’s first reading tells us that as the early Church in Jerusalem grew in size, problems arose. The apostles decided to appoint a group of men, the first deacons, who would dedicate themselves to serving the needs of the community. It is interesting that the Twelve prioritized the serving of God and said: “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table […] we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Act 6:2,4). The first priority in the Church is the proclamation of Christ. If we fail to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, we deprive people of the most important of all gifts: eternal life. Today’s responsorial psalm says: “See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine” (Ps 33:18–19).

May Our Lady, the Morning Star, help us on our pilgrimage toward the house of the Father. May she defend us from all the dangers of the road.  May she help us reach our eternal destiny. One day, together with her, may we all enjoy the vision of God, fullness of life and joy without end.  Amen.