Sixth Sunday of Easter
                                                           May 5, 2013 Cycle C

                                                                                     by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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

I have been reading a very interesting book, The Splendor of the Church. The author is a French theologian, Henri de Lubac. This book is helping me become more aware of the mystery of the Church. I sometimes find myself viewing the parish or the Church in general in a superficial way, seeing only what we have to do, what we have to organize, the problems we need to face etc., while forgetting the most important thing, the presence of God among us. The mystery of the Church is the presence of the Trinity.

The  second reading compares the Church to a city, the New Jerusalem: “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the lamb.” The light of the Church is God. Truly, he abides among us. The mystery of God is the center of Church life.

The first reading tells us that there were great divisions in the early Church. Some people were saying that it was necessary to retain all the rites and Jewish traditions. However, Paul and his friends said that Christians were not obliged to follow the prescriptions of the law. The important thing is how the early Christians dealt with the divisions. Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to consult Peter and the Apostles. This was the first council of the Church, the Council of Jerusalem. Paul submitted the issue to the authorities. They discussed it and explained the reason for their decision to Paul: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us […].” The ultimate authority is the Holy Spirit. The authority of the Apostles is not based on themselves but on the Holy Spirit.

The way the early Christians overcame the divisions threatening the future of the Church was to listen to the voice of the Spirit. Authority in the Church is ultimately based on God.

In the Gospel, Jesus says: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

We need to be more aware of the mystery of the Church. For example, we need to think that when we attend Mass, we are coming to have an encounter with God. We are not only participating in a service, as part of our Sunday routine. We are here today to be surprised by God, by his presence and by his Word. Every Eucharist is an event of salvation. When I come to Mass, am I aware that God wants to tell me something relevant to my life?

We need to take Jesus’ words seriously: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

We have just started the month of May, the month of Mary. Let us ask Our Blessed Mother to obtain the grace for us to recognize God’s presence among us.

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


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