In the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, the Risen Lord promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples.   The Holy Spirit will make present his love for them.  In the Holy Spirit, they will enjoy a new intimate relationship with the Risen Lord.  “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him” (John 14: 21).  Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the disciples remain in the love of Jesus when they love others as Jesus loves them.  Those who love Jesus keep his commandments to love God and neighbor.  How do you love Jesus?

In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the Risen Lord tells his disciples he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for them.      ” ‘Where I am going you know the way.’  Thomas said to him, ‘Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14: 4-7).  Jesus is more than a sign post directing us to heaven.  Jesus is the Way.  We experience the love of God through an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Jesus loves us as God loves him.  We love others as Jesus loves us.  So we love others as God loves them:  selflessly, generously, mercifully.  I have personally experienced the love of God in my marriage.  The love of my spouse reflects the love of God for me.  I strive to reflect the love of God for her.  How do you show others the way to God?

 

 

In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Jesus compares himself to a sheep gate.  “I am the gate.  Whoever enters through me will be saved,  and will come in and go out and find pasture.  A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10: 9-10).  Shepherds gather their sheep at night into a protected enclosure.  Shepherds lead them through the gate which the shepherds guard until dawn.   Jesus gathers the scattered and lost.  He shows us the way to a better life.  He is our way to a more loving relationship with God and others.  He is the source of our salvation.  How has Jesus helped you find your way to living for God?  For others?

 

 

 

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Easter, two of Jesus’ disciples meet a stranger on the road to Emmaus from Jerusalem.  It is the Risen Lord accompanying them home.  He explains to them his passion death and resurrection in light of the Scriptures.  As they reach home, the disciples invite their companion to stay for dinner.  ” ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’  So he went in to stay with them.  And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight” (Luke 24: 29-31).  The Risen Lord accompanies us too.  Whether we know it or not.  He celebrates with us the blessings of life.   The Risen Lord attended my son’s 30th surprise birthday party.  The love of his friends and family reflected the love of Jesus for us.  The Risen Lord shares our struggles with us.  He is with my wife, a homecare nurse, when she visits her chronically ill patients.  Her care for them reflects the love of Jesus too.  How has Jesus accompanied you?  How do you accompany others?

In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Easter, the Risen Lord appears to the disciples in the Upper Room.  “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (John 20: 19-20).  The Risen Lord passes through the locked doors.  Nothing deters him from bringing peace of God to his frightened disciples.   I have been afraid too.   My fear of getting hurt by rejection, unrealistic demands, broken relationships, economic hardship, suffering, and more keeps my heart locked from God’s love.  Fear disables me from loving others as fully as I can.  I pray for the Peace of the Risen Lord to overcome the fear thwarting my love for others.  How has the Risen Lord helped release you from your fear to love someone in need?

In the Gospel for Easter Sunday, Mary of Magdala goes to the tomb of Jesus and finds it empty.  She runs to tell Simon Peter and the other disciples.  They run to the tomb.  The beloved disciple arrives first.  Then Peter arrives.  He enters the tomb to only find the burial cloths.  “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20: 8).  The beloved disciple immediately believes in the Resurrection.  My faith in the resurrection has matured throughout my life.  This Easter I know that the self giving love of Jesus is available to me and all who believe in the Risen Lord.  I have witnessed the self giving love of my parents, my spouse, my children, my friends, my neighbors, and strangers.  I have even surprised myself by my acts of unconditional love for others.  What acts of self giving love have you seen or done that strengthen your faith in the Resurrection?

In the Gospel for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Jesus is arrested.  “And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword’ ”  (Matthew 26: 51-52).  Jesus exemplifies the love of enemy which he taught his disciples.  He refuses to respond to the violence of his arrest with violence.  He knows that love is more powerful than hate.  Jesus witnesses throughout his passion and death to God’s loving mercy for his executors.  I struggle daily to be loving and merciful to my family, friends, and co-workers let alone my enemies.  I am sorry for any swords of jealously, prejudice, indifference, false judgements, and more I have wielded against others.  For what swords of violence to the dignity of others do you need God’s help to put back?

In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  “He cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’  The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth.  So Jesus said to them, ‘Untie him and let him go’ ” (John 11: 43-44).  Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  Then he orders the bandages untied.  He releases Lazarus  from the grip of death.  Sin is a death too.  It threatens our life with God.  Sin can grab hold of us and not let go.  We all do hurtful things to others that we resolved not to do.  But we do them anyway.  I regret I succumb to the temptation to say hurtful things to my wife when I feel hurt by her.  Christ has the power to free me from this tendency to sin.  Christ unties me from the restraints of hurtful actions.  Christ releases me from the grip of sin to love God and others freely and selflessly.  How has God freed you from sin?  How have you helped free others?

In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Jesus cures the man born blind.  “When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?’  Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him (John 9: 35-38).  The man born blind gradually comes to see Jesus as the Son of Man.  He first identifies the one who cured him as “Jesus” and then “Prophet”. Finally the man born blind sees Jesus for who he really is, “Lord”.  Jesus cured him from both physical and spiritual blindness.  My spiritual eyesight is still blurry.  I now see the face of the Jesus more clearly in faces of my spouse, sons, family and friends.  I am not able to see as clearly the face of Jesus in those who have hurt me, disagreed with me, and have harmed others.  How do you witness to your belief in the presence of Christ in others?  How do others see the face of Christ in you?

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus meets the Samaritan Women at the Well.  Jesus asks her for a drink of water.  She initially resists.  Jews had little in common with Samaritans.  Then Jesus offers her living water.  Since he has no cup, she asks how.  “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’ ” (John 4: 13-14).  By virtue of Baptism, the living water of the Holy Spirit bubbles in each Christian.  The life giving water of the Spirit animates us as Christ for others.  Alive in Christ, we bring the love of Christ to life in our daily encounters.  Christ lives in us when we satisfy those thirsty for companionship, healing, mercy, forgiveness, justice, and more.  How do you satisfy those in your life who thirst for the love of God?