Sixth Sunday of Easter
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48; Psalm 98:1-4; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17)
Growing in Hope and Joy during this Grace-filled Easter Season
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
It was one o’clock in the morning when the couple received news that their two sons would be returning home from the war in two months’ time. They were so excited that they stayed awake all the rest of the night reminiscing about their boys and making plans for their eventual reunion. They knew their sons were still in harm’s way, but there was no room for doubt and worry that night. Their joy sprang from their hope.
As believers, we too are invited to rejoice in something that hasn’t fully come to pass. Jesus has risen victorious from death. He has triumphed in the battle against sin and given us a share in his victory. But at the same time, his full victory has yet to be revealed, and we find ourselves living in hope. We still face battles against sin and temptation. We still face situations that threaten our peace or rob us of joy. In short, we are still waiting for the Second Coming, when our joy will be complete.
Just as the soldiers’ parents found joy by living in hope, so too can we. It’s what we do, in fact, every time we celebrate Mass. Gathered as one people, we hear Jesus speak his words to us—words of life that tell us of the promise of heaven and the salvation that he won for us. Then, offering him our gifts, we fix our eyes on the altar, where bread and wine are transformed into his body and blood.
This is the reason for our hope! Just as the bread and wine become something different, so too will our lives be transformed at the end of time. Every time we receive Jesus’ body and blood, we receive a share in the divine life that will completely suffuse us one day. We receive more strength, more encouragement, and more love to sustain us as we continue our vigil. And so we continue to wait in joyful hope for that day when our joy will be complete.
“Lord Jesus, help me to live in your love today!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- In the first reading, St. Peter preaches that “God shows no partiality.” Pope John Paul II says: “The Catholic Church bases upon God’s plan her ecumenical commitment to gather all Christians into unity.” How open are you to share in Pope John Paul II’s desire for Christian unity? What can you do to foster it?
- The Responsorial Psalm tells us to “Sing joyfully to the Lord.” What reasons does the psalmist give for doing this? What reasons do you have for doing this?
- In the second reading, St. John tells us that the really remarkable thing is not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us first. In what ways have you known and experienced God’s love for you, not just for all people, but for you personally?
- In the Gospel reading, we also hear another remarkable truth: “As the Father loves me, so also I love you” (John 15:9). We are again commanded to “love one another as I love you.”. How easy is it for you to share God’s love with others? When is it difficult for you to love others? How can knowing and experiencing more deeply the truth of John 15:9 help us to love others as Jesus loves us?
- In the meditation we hear these words: “Every time we receive Jesus’ body and blood, we receive a share in the divine life that will completely suffuse us one day. We receive more strength, more encouragement, and more love to sustain us as we continue our vigil.” Do these kinds of truths go through your mind before you receive the Lord in the Eucharist? If not, why not? Try reminding yourself of these truths the next time you receive communion, and see what happens.
- Take some time now to pray that you would experience more deeply the transforming power of the Eucharist, and that you would grow in hope and in the Lord’s great love for you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.