Sunday, May 18, 2014
"I am the way and the truth and the life."
In the Gospel for this Fifth Sunday in Easter, Jesus invites us to let go and trust in Him. He declares that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with family, friends and church groups.
This Sunday's Gospel text is taken from St. John's account of the Last Supper. That the Church gives us this Last Supper discourse of Jesus for an Easter Season Eucharist is illuminative. These words are spoken to us now by the Risen Lord, truly alive and present in our midst. In this gospel we find things that Jesus taught before his death beautifully combined with John's inspired interpretation of these teachings, written in full confidence of guidance by the Spirit of Jesus (Jn 16:13).
Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life
The life implication of this gospel is profound because it touches upon the fear of death, that pervasive fear which can take the life out of life. Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. tells us that to hear the words of Jesus "Do not let your hearts be troubled" is the liberating good news that we can live and work in a fragile and violent world and not be overcome.
Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that Jesus is inviting us to let go and trust in Him. In this Sunday's Gospel He tells his disciples that He is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father."
God is in Jesus and Jesus is in the world and He sends His Spirit to show us the Way, Fr. John Foley, S. J. explains. God’s love has been incarnated. It can never leave us. And so when Jesus reminds the apostles, "You have faith in God; have faith also in me," He is also telling us to trust the Holy Spirit to do in us what we cannot do ourselves. And that, Fr. Orlando Sapuay, MS points out, is what "Living in the Holy Spirit" is all about.
Living Cornerstones of the Church
The second reading from the First Letter of Peter contains some of the most reassuring verses in Scripture. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino says in this reading, we are called living cornerstones of the Church, we are the royal priesthood, the people whom God has chosen to bring light to all who live in darkness. We are the Church.
But are there not many paths to God, many truths? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reminds us how many times we've heard people say that there are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak? It’s politically correct. Tolerant. Reasonable. But it’s wrong. Jesus would not have supported the smorgasbord Gospel, pick-and-choose Catholicism which is popular among us today. Fr. James Gilhooley notes that if you're a cafeteria Catholic, you've just started your own religion. The Church is not simply one choice among others, Father Cusick highlights for us. It is not a way to Christ, but the way to Christ.
Fr. Ron Rolheiser, however, offers a few words of wisdom for our discipleship. In our spiritual journey, there is an important time to be conservative, just as there is an important time to be liberal. We are not meant to pick one of these over the other.
Birth of the Deaconate
In the first reading this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that a clear perception of the diversity of offices and duties in the first apostolic community arose very quickly. The essential function of the Twelve is the "service of the word," including development of the kerygma by formulation of the teachings of Jesus.
In Verse 2 we read: "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table." At the Apostles' invitation the disciples chose seven men led by St. Stephen. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains that our tradition sees in this group the origins of the future ministry of "deacons." The Deaconate has thrived through the ages. And today we Catholics in the USA are see a surge in its membership numbers.
Rapture, True Orthodoxy and the Eucharist
Over the years, some evangelical Christian denominations who believe the world will end have predicted its end date. If you remember the last famous predicted date was three years ago on May 21, 2011. Fans of the "Left behind" movie series have come to know this event as the Rapture. But what exactly is the Catholic teaching on the Rapture? There is none, explains Michael D. Guinan, O.F.M., Ph.D., a professor at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He clarifies in detail that there is no traditional Christian teaching on the Rapture. A concept developed in the late 1800s, he says it is a late, and rather suspect, arrival on the scene.
In the book "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist," Brant Pitre does a fantastic job of showing how various things from the Old Testament point to Christ. Joe Heschmeyer went on a similar journey and wrote this piece that shows five different ways the Eucharist is prefigured in the Old Testament, and what each of those things shows us about the Eucharist.
Fr. Ron Rolheiser, one of our featured weekly Sunday homilists,. is president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. In an article he penned a few years back for San Francisco’s archdiocesan newspaper, he answered the question “What makes for a healthy, balanced, orthodox faith?” He said, “Purity of dogma alone doesn't make us disciples of Jesus." Check out his sharp narrative on true orthodoxy.
Marriage & the Sanctity of Life
Msgr. Charles Pope talks about one of the more beautiful passages in the Old Testament: the 12th Chapter of Ecclesiastes. It is a melancholy but soulful meditation on old age. He presents it here in totality and presents his own commentaries.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan explains Marriage is the core of every civilization. He clarified again the definition of marriage that is hardwired into our human reason. It it is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading to children, between one man and one woman. History, Natural Law, the Bible, the religions of the world, human experience, and just plain gumption tell us this is so.
And speaking of marriages, the Census Bureau reports an encouraging trend. Americans may be postponing marriage, and fewer are wedding at all. But what about the people who do get married? They’re staying together longer than they have in years. Statistics show that the number of long-lasting marriages in U.S. has risen in recent years. We'll take every bit of good news, no matter how small.
We can't help but share this wonderful wedding proposal with you. THIS is a marriage proposal that gets 4 stars in our book. It's one of the best we've ever seen. But we will let the video speak for itself. Enjoy.
Mary and the Month of May
As we celebrate this month of May, walking in a particular way with Mary, the Mother of God, Sr. Lisa Marie Doty lists 10 of the most popular pious Marian practices of the faithful as recommended by the Magisterium.
She also talked about how she learned to pray from the examples set by the Blessed Virgin Mary, through our blessed Mother's disposition towards the things of God especially through her example as a woman of deep prayer.
Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
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