Easter Sunday6 C (09 May 2010)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
J esus prays for us as he prayed for his disciples at the Last Supper. His prayer then was within his farewell to them. His farewell looked beyond his impending death as well as through it to his glorification, which released for them and continues releasing for us, Holy Spirit.
If we think of glory at all, we tend to imagine it as out of this world, without substance, and as a result, disconnected from us and our experience. Christian glory is connected to us. Glory is deeply personal and transforms us. Regarding personal, St. Paul often used the word glory to denote Holy Spirit, the personal presence of the divine abroad in the world. Holy Spirit raised Jesus to absolutely new and undying life, affecting his entire person as well as each of us now.1 Glory transformed Jesus’ wounds, it did not erase them. It was by the marks of his wounds that his disciples recognized Jesus on Easter evening.2
Jesus’ approaching death, dawning on the disciples, troubled and frightened them. Jesus spoke beyond his death, and how he did so tells us something more about glory. Not only personally transformative, Christian glory is intimate. Jesus’ manner of speaking to his disciples throughout his Last Supper, expansive farewell was touching:
- You are my friends.3
- Abide in my love.4
- This I command you: love one another...as I have loved you.5
- My father [loves] you.6
- The Paraclete—advocate, counselor, helper, intercessor widen the meaning of that word as it was used and means for us—the Paraclete, the holy Spirit…will remind you of all that I told you.7
- And: my peace I give you.8
We can appreciate that Jesus looked through and beyond his death because we are beyond what his disciples experienced. What we easily miss is the intimacy Jesus radiated as he was with the first disciples in that very troubled, dark hour. Easter, Jesus’ resurrection-glory, fulfilled his multifaceted promise he expressed in most intimate terms. What does it mean for us now that we have heard it yet again?
His message calls us to radiate Jesus’ presence. This is the vocation of the church and the vocation of each member of it. The church’s effort to be faithful to its vocation has not been without embarrassment when we think of ways past and present members of it have tried to make Jesus’ peace square with worldly calm or shape his glory according to personal prestige or forfeit it to enjoy personal power.
The radiance of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, beheld by the seer, John, and its light and Lamb—standing, as though it had been slain9—are no parody but point to a living mystery: the radiance of God’s word, sacraments and persistent, patient presence of Holy Spirit.
I saw no temple in the city, wrote the seer, but he had been seeing people throughout his vision of heaven. Church buildings allow us real and living stones10 to gather and be reminded by the word, nourished by the sacraments, stand on the foundation of the twelve apostles of the Lamb then touch the world, one person at a time, with the intimate love and paschal glory of our priest, savior and Messiah Jesus. His word reminds us how to be faithful. Sacraments empower us to live our faith. Standing on the foundation of the twelve apostles of the Lamb connects us with the glory of the resurrection so we may live it with conviction and touch the lives of others with it.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week, bask in the living light of the Trinity. Ask the apostles to present you to Jesus. Hear Jesus speak to you in his words to them and respond in your words to Jesus as you feel moved. Ask for the grace to feel his intimate care transforming you. Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Its words, on earth as it is in heaven, are a bridge for God’s glory. On earth as it is in heaven reminds us that we are that bridge, and we make God’s glory known and felt by others for the sake of the world.
- See Romans 8.11: If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit who dwells in you.
- John 20.20 is a crucial detail often overlooked.
- John 15.14.
- John 15.9.
- John 15.17...12.
- John 14.23.
- John 14.26.
- John 14.27.
- Revelation 5.6: an absurd turn of phrase, yet human language’s way to express an unheard of mystery!
- 1Peter 2.5.