Truth waits for us to come forth

In the context of the whole Easter season, the Scripture readings today come as a review for the final exam, much as a school teacher will conduct a revision before the final exam.

May 20, 2022

                    Reflecting on our Sunday Readings with Sr Anne Wong, IJ

6th Sunday of Easter (C)

Readings: Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2, 22-29;
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23;
Gospel: John 14:23-29

In the context of the whole Easter season, the Scripture readings today come as a review for the final exam, much as a school teacher will conduct a revision before the final exam. After the Resurrection, why does Jesus not go straight back to the Father? Is He not sure that His disciples have really understood His teaching? Are they ready to be on their own?

It is we, His followers today, who need the revision. In the first reading from Acts 15:1-2 the sin of Ananias and his wife was to take one of the greatest signs of the Spirit’s power – total giving. They acted as though Peter and the disciples had formed a merely human organisation. To Ananias and his wife, there was nothing divine about the community. This is why Peter exclaimed, “It is not to men that you have lied, but to God.” The Church is united to God by the Holy Spirit. An offence to the people is a sin against God. There is a plus side to this incident, the community and all who heard the story of what happened are profoundly struck by it.

Truth has a way of showing up our lies. Sometimes we keep the sin in our lives, well-protected, guarded, covered over with lies. Sometimes we are not free enough to own our lies, so we cannot be healed of it. An unacknowledged wound cannot be healed. Truth has a way of waiting for us to come forth and confess the lies in our lives. It has a way of gazing at us until we can no longer bear the accusing look. It is then that we receive grace to turn to truth and welcome it home. Only when we welcome truth does it have the power to colour our lives with honesty.

The passage from the Book of Revelation in the second reading “ the spirit he carried me to a great high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem…it has the glory of God…and a radiance like a very rare jewel….” We have to unlearn our notions about glory. We have to learn Christ’s values and discipleship. To serve and be emptied, to let the light shine through us. For Christ’s first nine months on earth, Mary was the only visible medium. He shone only through her, as the sunlight shines with a special radiance through the stained-glass windows of a church. Today we are called to be servants, to serve wherever, in whatever way we can. Jerusalem stands, not only for the Church as a whole, but for every person made to the image of God.” The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it for the glory of God is its light…” It is not your glory but His. You have to be transparent, to be the lantern, not the light. Are you prepared to let His glory shine through you, through unselfish, loving, service with a smile and humility?

The Gospel of today is taken from Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. He speaks of the love He has for His disciples and of His Father’s love. He prepares His disciples for His imminent departure, to return to His Father, by exhorting them to prove their love for Him through their loyalty and obedience to His word. He promises them the abiding instruction and consolation of the Holy Spirit. How can we know and be assured of the love of God? The Holy Spirit helps us to grow in the knowledge of God and His great love. The Spirit enables us to experience the Love of God and be assured of the Lord’s abiding presence with us. The Holy Spirit also opens our ears to hear and understand the Word of God. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to inflame our hearts with the love of God and His word.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you” (v. 27a). This is Jesus’ last will and testament. “He had little to leave. Even his clothes would soon be the property of the crucifixion squad of soldiers. But there was one thing he could give — “Peace I — a mighty gift indeed” “Not as the world gives, give I to you” At this time, the Roman world was enjoying a kind of peace, Roman peace, maintained by Roman soldiers, through dominance. Many people under Roman rule wanted to expel Roman occupiers from their midst, but Rome had the power to crush rebellion — and used that power ruthlessly. By contrast, Christ offers real peace, the kind of peace that the world cannot give. We see it in the lives of those who have entrusted their lives to Christ. We envy their calm strength. Their creed is, “If God is for us, who can be against us,” (Romans 8:31) —and they have peace.

The three readings focus on the reality that truth will set us free to give God the glory that is His, as peace leads the way beyond Easter glory to new life.

(Sr Anne Wong is an IJ Sister, retired headmistress of secondary schools and faith formator. She is currently a resident with the Waterfall community in Penang.)

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