Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
You’ve probably noticed that during the Easter Season we soon abandon the Gospels narrating Jesus’ Resurrection to return to his controversial ministry which, you could say, precipitated his death. This really isn’t explained by the limited number of resurrection accounts or that the Easter Season, seven weeks long, requires so many Gospels.
The liturgy offers us a pedagogy of how to celebrate, through various seasons, the central mysteries of our faith. So what we viewed during Lent as leading up to the events of Holy Week, we now consider in the light of the Resurrection. It’s not just a sequence of one leading to the other but of their being intertwined, illuminating one another.
The various liturgical seasons separate parts of the Gospel so that through the liturgy we can experience how they relate to one another–and how they relate to the seasons and events of our own lives.
Throughout Lent we had seen Jesus challenging his followers and his opponents to embrace a way of life that undercut possessions, power and prestige. He hacked away at those false promises of human fulfillment, telling us that fulfillment, in fact, may not be what out human potential is about. Instead Jesus was exemplifying self-giving, powerlessness and marginality.
What a tragedy that too often our “inculturation” of the Gospel fumbles the challenge and our religious culture all too easily re-appropriates possessions, power and prestige under different names!
To revisit Chapter Fifteen of Saint John’s Gospel–part of Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper–is to celebrate the beauty of Jesus’ emptiness, powerlessness and marginality. It is this, and only this, that allows him to so perfectly reflect the Father’s love in their mutual communion. It is this, and only this, that opens to us that same communion.
Despite what our society would tell us, self-giving, powerlessness and marginality do not annihilate us but transform us, replacing fleeting contentment or happiness with true joy. Instead of competing to be one winner, couldn’t we pull together and actually become one?