The readings of the sixth Sunday of Easter prepare us for the return of Jesus to his Father. The Church will have to discover the presence of the Lord among us in a different way, through the Sacraments. From the document Lumen Gentium of the II Vatican Council we learn that Jesus is the sacrament of God, and that we are the sacrament of Jesus.
From the day of the ascension we, the followers of Jesus, will make him visible among our brothers and sisters who journey with us through the roads of history.
FIRST READING ACTS 15:1-2,22-29
Ø The Church, the first communities of believers, is faced with its first problem. From its solution depends the future of the Church, her fidelity to the Project of Jesus.
Ø Some brethren had come from the community of Jerusalem, and were saying to the community of Antioch that, to belong to the people of God in order to be saved, they had to be circumcised, baptism was not enough.
Ø They had not yet understood the newness of the teaching of Jesus who had come to reveal to us the
full meaning of the covenant made with Abraham and his descendants.
Ø The faithful of Antioch went to the Apostles for an answer. The Apostles were the leaders of the community, they were the witnesses of the resurrection and, thus the foundation of the Church.
Ø The Apostles had a meeting to discuss the matter. They invoked the Holy Spirit, they fasted and they reached the conclusion that to be part of the community of Jesus it is enough with baptism and they did not have to be circumcised.
Ø They put only some conditions (not to eat meat sacrificed to the idols, abstain from blood and meat of strangled animals, and unlawful marital unions.) Paul explained in one his letters about the meals, he said that the follower of Jesus may eat anything, because we do not believe in idols, but if my eating the meat sacrificed to an idol may cause my brother or sister to sin, then I will abstain from it. What continues to be forbidden are the illicit marital unions, since this is the will of God expressed in the 6th commandment.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 67
« Psalm 67 has three stanza separated by a refrain which is found in verses 4 and 6. This refrain is used as the response of the responsorial psalm.
« Every good thing, every gift comes from the goodness of God, and this is the cause of our joyful thanksgiving.
« The blessing that God grants to us and which the psalm repeats several times, takes us to Ef 1:3.
O GOD, LET ALL THE NATIONS PRAISE YOU!
May God have pity on us and bless us;
May he let his face shine upon us
So may your ways be known upon earth;
Among all nations, your salvation.
May the nations be glad and exult
Because you rule the peoples in equity
The nations on the earth you guide.
May the peoples praise you, O God
May all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us
And may all the ends of the earth fear him!
SECOND READING Rev 21:10-14, 22-23
ü Today instead of reflecting on the meaning of the Second Reading, we will talk about some clues to help us to understand this wonderful book which is full of words and images of hope.
ü We know that to be able to understand a message we need to know what led the author write the book and what message did he want to convey to the reader.
ü There are two authors of this book: the human author who writes in a given time and place, in a concrete moment of history, with a given psychology and spirituality, in a language different from ours. We need someone to explain the meaning of all of this to us, if we want to enjoy the message.
ü But there is another author whom we may call the main author, the Holy Spirit, and the only way we will be able to understand the message, besides being aware of what we have already said, is in prayer. Through prayer we listen to the words the Spirits says to the Church, and which one of the words of Jesus he wants to remind to the Church. (Jn 14,26)
ü I list below four different ways to look at the contents of this book:
1. History. This book is about “the theology of history”. In reality the whole Bible is understood as a reading of history through the eyes of God. The apocalyptic literature opens a door to hope: history has a meaning, evil does not have the last word, the victory belongs to Christ, the lamb that has been slain.
2. Symbolism. The apocalyptic literature uses symbols: colors, numbers, animals, plants, natural phenomena to describe an experience which goes beyond the limits of our senses, beyond what is controllable.
It is not enough to understand the meaning of the symbols, we need to submerge ourselves into its meaning and allow the symbol to impress us.
3. Crisis. The book of Revelation has been written in times of crisis for the first community. The community was been persecuted by Romans and by Jews. The book is not about the end of the world, but about moments in history like those of the first community, when we think that everything is lost. It is the book of the just who entrust their cause to God.
4. Christology. The Word apocalypse means revelation. The book is the revelation of the Risen a Glorious Lord Jesus Christ. He died but now he is alive. He is before the throne of God and on opening the book of the seven seals he reveals to us the will of God, and the meaning of history. He, the Lord Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of history.
GOSPEL Jn 14:23-29
Jesus speaks with his disciples after the last supper, before his death. Last week he talked to us about the new commandment: to love as he has loved us. This week we will hear again what he wants to tell us about this commandment.
« He who loves me will keep my Word. This is something easy to understand, since we also keep and remember the words of those we love.
« The Father will love those who keep the word of Jesus.
« And what follows is unexpected: We will come to him and make our dwelling in him. Who are they, from the text we understand it is the Father and Jesus, but as we continue the reading we realize it is also the Holy Spirit. So the Three divine Persons will come to dwell in us.
« The word of Jesus is the Father’s who has sent him to say to us this word. There is only One Word, the Creating Word incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, sent by the Father to tell this Word which is himself.
« Jesus has already said this Word to us, now the Holy Spirit will remind us all the words of Jesus, and he will teach us how to live this word in our human history.
« Jesus leaves us his peace, invites us not to be afraid, and even to be joyful that he leaves us, because this is what is convenient for us, and because the Father is greater than him.
I was at this time with some anxieties pressuring my soul, not knowing how to get free from them, because the Archbishop wanted to make the foundation requesting dowries, and the Lord had already told me not to accept this unless he commanded it in virtue of holy obedience, to tell my prelate that the cost of the house, plus the dowry I had of about 15.000 pesos, that all this would be spent in the constriction of the convent , and that under that condition and no other, I could accept the condition and make the profession. That this was the divine will, and that this was more than sufficient to fulfill the sacred letters. The Archbishop accepted this but the procurator said that in no way could it be done, and the bishop desisted as soon as he heard the procurator. All was to search in books and to make plans, sending them to me to know if I liked them. But I was pleased with nothing except with what God had told me and I always answered the same: not to consult with me anything, what did I understand of those business ? (And, truly, all their ideas were confusion for me). That they may act according to their opinion, that I would agree in all that the prelate would command but I was very sure of what God our Lord had said and his Majesty would not permit anything against his will. And so it was done with the grace of God and the zeal and activity of this servant of God untiring in talking with some and persuading others. Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, Autobiography 77.
Jesus, my Life, I know and fully realize that suffering, sorrow, and work are the badge of the apostolate. With the help of your grace, my Lord and Father, I will embrace them and declare that I am ready to drink the cup of inner torment and the baptism of outer pain. And so I say, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross on which you were nailed for me and on which I, too, would be nailed for you.'' So be it. Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Misionary Sisters, Autobiography 427.
 1 Claret accommodates the text of St. Paul (Gal. 6:14) to express his own love for and conformity with Christ. Here mortification is more than just a virtue that makes one a good apostle; it is the culmination of the apostolate through incorporation into the Lord's own sacrifice.