The Jesuit Father Rigobert Kyungu introduces us to meditation with the readings for the 5th Sunday of Easter.
Brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the fifth Sunday of Easter. The first reading is taken from the book of Acts of the Apostles 14, 21b-27. The second reading comes from the Apocalypse of Saint John 21, 1-5a. We will read the Gospel according to Saint John in chapter 10, 31-35. These readings invite us to bear our trials in faith, fidelity and love. For on the horizon of all trials is the glory of God.
Today’s Gospel tells us of the scene where Jesus, knowing he was betrayed by Judas, speaks of the glorification of the Father and of his own glorification. Indeed, when Judas leaves Jesus and his disciples in the middle of a meal, he leaves to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. However, Jesus does not see a failure in this betrayal; it is rather a sign of victory for him. For by accepting to take the chalice that the Father offers him and to carry his cross to the end, Jesus marks his victory over the devil and over evil. That is why he speaks of it in terms of glorification. Thus we too can understand that when suffering and trials are lived in faith, trust and fidelity to God, the victory of the Lord is always assured. This is also what Paul and Barnabas declare in the first reading by saying: we have to go through many trials to enter the kingdom of God. Their fidelity and their faith thus enabled their mission to bear fruit. Indeed, they succeeded in bringing the good news to the heathen nations.
It is up to us to examine how we integrate suffering and trials into our lives. For as long as we are here on earth, we will have to confront the mystery of suffering and of the cross. So for us Christians, the cross is not only a sign of weakness, but rather the place of victory with Jesus. This is why there is no Christian spirituality without the mystery of the cross, no offense to the followers of the prosperity gospel. For only in heaven will we experience no suffering, as St. John says in the second reading: God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more; and there will be no more weeping, shouting, or sadness; for the first creation will have disappeared.
In the meantime, while accepting our trials in faith, we must also live in love for one another. This is what Jesus asks of us in the Gospel. He makes love a new commandment because love is a challenge to which we must respond every day. Jesus invites us to love as he loved us, that is, by forgetting ourselves for the good of others, even to the point of giving our own life. He actually says: It is by the love you have for one another that people will recognize that you are my disciples. Can we really, as Christians, make a difference with others by striving to love one another so as to amaze and edify those around us?
In the light of these readings, let us ask the Lord to give us his Spirit so that he may fill us with his love for others and also give us faith and hope, especially in times of trial. Amen.
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Meditation for the 5th Sunday of Easter: “Bear our trials in faith, fidelity and love” – Vatican News
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