The Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 14:21-27 — Rev 21:1-5 — John 13:31-35
May 2, 2010
1. Link to the Scriptures from Holy Mass
for the Fifth Sunday of Easter:
2. The Office of Readings:
From a sermon by
Saint Maximus of Turin, bishop
Christ is the day
Christ is risen! He has burst open the gates of hell and let the dead go free; he has renewed the earth through the members of his Church now born again in baptism, and has made it blossom afresh with men brought back to life. His Holy Spirit has unlocked the doors of heaven, which stand wide open to receive those who rise up from the earth. Because of Christ’s resurrection the thief ascends to paradise, the bodies of the blessed enter the holy city, and the dead are restored to the company of the living. There is an upward movement in the whole of creation, each element raising itself to something higher. We see hell restoring its victims to the upper regions, earth sending its buried dead to heaven, and heaven presenting the new arrivals to the Lord. In one and the same movement, our Savior’s passion raises men from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.
Christ is risen. His rising brings life to the dead, forgiveness to sinners, and glory to the saints. And so David the prophet summons all creation to join in celebrating the Easter festival: Rejoice and be glad, he cries, on this day which the Lord has made.
The light of Christ is an endless day that knows no night. Christ is this day, says the Apostle; such is the meaning of his words: Night is almost over; day is at hand. He tells us that night is almost over, not that it is about to fall. By this we are meant to understand that the coming of Christ’s light puts Satan’s darkness to flight, leaving no place for any shadow of sin. His everlasting radiance dispels the dark clouds of the past and checks the hidden growth of vice. The Son is that day to whom the day, which is the Father, communicates the mystery of his divinity. He is the day who says through the mouth of Solomon: I have caused an unfailing light to rise in heaven. And as in heaven no night can follow day, so no sin can overshadow the justice of Christ. The celestial day is perpetually bright and shining with brilliant light; clouds can never darken its skies. In the same way, the light of Christ is eternally glowing with luminous radiance and can never be extinguished by the darkness of sin. This is why John the evangelist says: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to overpower it.
And so, my brothers, each of us ought surely to rejoice on this holy day. Let no one, conscious of his sinfulness, withdraw from our common celebration, nor let anyone be kept away from our public prayer by the burden of his guilt. Sinner he may indeed be, but he must not despair of pardon on this day which is so highly privileged; for if a thief could receive the grace of paradise, how could a Christian be refused forgiveness?
3. Reflections from Father Robert Barron
and Dr. Scott Hahn
To hear his audio reflection,
click below on the photo of
To hear or read his reflection,
click below on the photo of
Dr. Scott Hahn:
4. Father Hoisington’s Reflection
When we celebrate Pentecost in three weeks, we will do more than simply celebrate an anniversary of that first Pentecost 2000 years ago. Sometimes Pentecost is celebrated as the “birthday of the Church”, but at the same time, every birthday celebration is also a forward-looking event. Celebrating a birthday should be about asking where this gift of life is going to take one in the days that lie ahead.
This is true for the Church, also, because the Church is still growing. The Church at the beginning of the 21st century is still growing throughout the world and throughout our neighborhoods. It is our responsibility as members of Christ’s Body to foster that growth. The Church is re-born each year at Pentecost, and so is each of us who is a member of the Body of Christ.
The readings of today’s Mass proclaim the dedication we need to do this work. In our First Reading we hear about the missionary efforts of Saint Paul. His intense work can seem daunting to us, but at their heart is a simple conviction: that it is God who is at work in the midst of our efforts; that it is God who opens doors of faith for others. We simply invite people to step through those doors, both by our word and our example.
Our dedication to God and others is based upon our love for them. We know that if others are suffering or searching for meaning in their lives, they can come to understand that God can raise a person from the depths of any death. It was God the Father whose love raised the Son from the dead, and it will be each of us who can raise others from death, if only we love them as God has loved us, and if they accept that love. We cannot, of course, force people to accept God’s love, but on the other hand, they cannot accept what is not offered.