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Love one another as I have loved you...

We have passed the halfway mark of the Easter Season. At this juncture, Jesus signals that he can’t be with them longer than they expected. He won’t be with them forever. The spectacular post-resurrection appearances will come to an end. In a little while, he will leave them behind and sadly, they cannot go with him. How poignant it must have been to those who heard it for the first time. With these words, Jesus gives them a glimpse of the Ascension of the Lord to take place few weeks from now. This is the time when Jesus slowly but surely gives his disciples instructions before disappearing for good. Shocking and surprising as can be, as we take his parting words to heart as promise and assurance that all will be well before and after his eventual departure, there’s not much to be worried about. Although it’s going to be the end  of his time on earth, he assures them that all will fall into place. What they have to do is learn to move on to the next chapter of life without him as agonizing as it seems. When you close your doors on one, a new, thrilling and stimulating opens up.

The liturgy on the Fifth Sunday of Easter brings us new things. From the entrance antiphon, “O Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has worked wonders” … to the Opening Prayer (Collect) – “that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism”… to the second reading in the Book of Revelation, “a new heaven and a new earth, a new Jerusalem” ending it with “Behold, I make all things new”… to the Gospel of John, “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you”… and again in the Prayer After Communion “to pass from former ways to newness of life…”

Something new is happening. Something is percolating. We are always in the process of becoming hopefully for the better, always in search for new ways of expressing and learning our faith. Sacramental celebrations such as confirmation for adolescents and first communion for children especially on May are both parish events and family gatherings to cherish. It was a joy to behold the kids donned with white dresses, veils and crowns. As school heads for summer break, I sense great excitement on the part of the kids. Graduation ceremonies and commencement exercises mark the end of a journey as well as the beginning of what’s to come which for the most part remains to be seen.

As always, we are invited to seriously consider praying intentionally to discover ever more the beauty of the spiritual exercises and the grandeur of the communal liturgy. Even for the seasoned prayer warrior, prayer makes things new. It refreshes weary souls, brings together our torn and scattered pieces and directs our lives to godly things.

Like I said, there’s an overarching repetition of the word “new” and that the Gospel is no exception stressing the great commandment of Jesus: Love one another as I have loved you.” The philosopher Aristotle said that if a person doesn’t feel loved, he/she will do everything to be admired that is, to get people’s attention. In the new commandment, we are once again asked to love especially the wounded, the broken, the despised, the vulnerable, and the most fragile among us. And when we strongly devote ourselves into this ministry, we can never go wrong. Wherever you end up, don’t forget the least in society. Amen.   


Tags: Fifth Sunday of Easter


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