Fifth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 54 (NAB Translation)
In this week’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Paul and Barnabas continue their first missionary journey where they experience both opposition and acceptance in their efforts to evangelize. Through preaching, prayer, and fasting they are able to spread the gospel rapidly as they make new disciples and encourage them to persevere in the hostile environment. We also see the beginnings of the ministerial priesthood as elders are appointed to govern the local churches. They will teach through example that, just as Jesus warned, the Christian life is not easy.
The response for this Psalm is: “I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.”
In this week’s reading from the 21st chapter of Revelation, we hear of the ultimate effect of Christ’s resurrection over all of creation. Because the “original” creation has been stained with mortality because of human sin, God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be free from the pain, suffering, death, and other corruption caused by sin. Through Christ’s resurrection, the whole universe is being healed. In Christ’s victory over death we too have the hope of a new body that can never die again.
In this week’s Gospel from St. John, Jesus gives His disciples one “new” commandment: “to love one another.” It might seem that “to love one another” is not really a “new” commandment, since even in the Old Testament we are told to love both God and neighbor. However, Jesus is no longer talking about mere human love. This new love is a divine love like Christ’s own love. It is a love that is willing to lay down one’s life for the sake of others. Indeed this is the very form of love that will be the single most distinguishing mark of His followers.
Gospel Reflection from Bishop Vasquez
Consider using the following meditation for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (April 24):
- How do you fulfill Jesus’ command to “love one another?” Would someone know that you are a Christian by the way you treat others?