Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Today’s readings, which you will have an opportunity to explore with the homilist at Sunday Mass, have a very strong and single message, which flows among them and out to us. It is this: The body of the Risen Christ is incarnate in the body of the Church, and it is this message that Christ asks the Church to give witness to in its missionary/evangelizing efforts.
When Christ died on Good Friday, the Apostles and the faithful disciples of Jesus were at a loss, the only Jesus they had known and loved had become a victim of an execution; he was killed and buried. Imagine their joy at the Easter proclamation of His Resurrection. So much began to become clear to them; words that Jesus had spoken they now could make their own message; actions that Jesus had demonstrated to them, they had the courage to repeat in the name of Jesus; and the challenges he had given them when their realization seemed not very likely, become the challenges they will face and overcome in spreading the life of the Church across the face of their world.
The missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas is commended to the Grace of God by their disciples, and at the end of their great missionary circuit, they come home to Antioch to praise God for the success they have realized. It is the greater a success because their journey has been to preach to the Gentiles. The die is cast, Christ shall be received into the Gentile communities without their first converting them to Judaism. The universality of the call to conversion is affirmed by the thousands of Gentiles who come to be baptized into the Risen Life of Jesus.
This is the affirmation that is echoed in the reading from the Book of Revelation: "God’s dwelling is with the human race", which is the New Jerusalem. No longer is God’s revelation of his plan for salvation an expression of Jewish faith, now all that has preceded gives way to a new heaven and a new earth in which to fashion a new people, who themselves shall be the dwelling place of God.
The words of Jesus at his last supper with the apostles, "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another…." are verified in the name by which the followers of Jesus the Nazarean come to be known in Antioch, "Christians".
May we also be so much of Christ that our lives will be an Easter witness to the life now lived in and among us by the Risen Lord. May we convey the love of Christ to one another. May we acknowledge and revere the life of Christ which is lived in His Body today, the Church.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo is the local leader of the Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.