5th Eastern Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

Way back in the Fall of 1991 I was in college in Minnesota. That year the Minnesota Twins won the World Series. After the Twins won, our dorm, as you can imagine, was deafening with cheering. After a few moments most of us went outside and to our surprise, though most thought completely fitting, the night sky was alive with the Northern Lights. Everyone was saying that God was celebrating the victory of the Twins. (I am sure that God was not celebrating the victory of the Twins, but was waiting to celebrate the championship of the Blue Jays in the next two years.) People gloried in the Twins when they had won, when they had been successful. In this week’s Gospel Jesus also speaks of how the Son of Man is glorified. But he chooses an apparently strange moment to identify his glorification.

The Lord was glorified, not after a big win like the Twins, but at the first moment of his betrayal. St John writes, “During the supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.’” How come the betrayal is the first moment of glorification? We would think it should be yet another occasion in which we have let God down. We would think it’s a low moment, not a high moment. But if we think about it, it is indeed a high point because it marks the beginning of the Passion. The Lord does not go on a tirade about how we are unfaithful, or how we sin, or how we fail to recognize God in our very midst, rather, it is a clear moment in which we see the power of God’s love. It is not about our action or inaction. It is about the love of the Father. What we can see so concretely is that God will always love, even if that love is not returned. And as we grow as Christians in our understanding, our experience and our appreciation of the free gift of the Father’s love in Christ, we move more deeply into the life of his Resurrection.

When we hear in the First Reading the places where Paul and Barnabas had travelled we sense profound excitement and energy. In these few versus they list Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga and Attalia. Their incredible activity indicates one thing—they were on fire for God. What makes us join Paul and Barnabas in that experience of being on fire for God is our understanding, experience and appreciation of the Father’s love in Christ—when we know within our hearts, that even though we may sin, in love, God always give his very self. The “new heaven and new earth” that St. John speaks of in the Book of Revelation is the Reign of God, it is the reign of God’s love. The “new Jerusalem” flows into us through the Father’s love and, in recognition and gratitude

flows out of us to the world in which we live. As such, like Paul and Barnabas, we become who God has created us to be, disciples of the Lord and instruments of his love.

God Bless, and Take Care!

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