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Breaking Open the Word

5th Sunday of Easter

May 7, 2023

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Yes to the Truth. That is our theme this week – Yes to the Truth. Our readings this week revolve around the calling of Jesus, our willingness to answer that call by saying “Yes”, and the effect of answering that call in the affirmative will have incredible outcomes.

Acts 6:1-7

Psalm 33

1 Peter 2:4-9

John 14:1-12

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Gospel Explained

Jesus is speaking with those closest to Him at the Last Supper in this week’s gospel. At this point, Jesus is well aware that He is about to suffer and be crucified. He understands the grueling and horrible death He is about to endure for the forgiveness of our sins, and yet, His focus is not on Himself. He begins by telling his Apostles: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” There is a declaration that the Apostles have grown tremendously from when they were first called to follow Him.

Yes. Yes, have faith in Jesus because He goes on to make another promise. There is a place the He is preparing for them. At this point, the Apostles likely did not understand that to necessarily mean a place in heaven but rather, a geographic location. Jesus spoke with His disciples extensively of focusing on their eternal home, but we see from the commentary of Philip and Thomas that they likely still did not fully understand what it was Jesus would conquer.

Jesus gives them additional insight into the eternal – the place He is going to prepare for them is in His Father’s house. In John 2:16, Jesus refers to the Temple is His Father’s house. With that, the Apostles would have had some understanding that the place Jesus was to prepare for them would be a a place of sanctuary.

With that, Jesus tells the Apostles that He will come back and get them to take them to the place of sanctuary. Yet, He also tells them they also know how to get to that place and that is by following the teachings of Jesus. Jesus makes His strongest declaration of finding the place of sanctuary by declaring He is the Savior, He is the one who is in the Father and the Father in Him, for He is the way the truth, and the light.

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Today's Theme

Our first reading is of particular note for those of us in the Diaconate. In our reading from Acts, the Apostles recognized they could not be all things to all people. The Hellenists, that is, the Greeks who were converting to follow Jesus, had left behind much to follow the “way, the truth, and the life”…and they still needed to eat. The Apostles then prayed for direction from the Holy Spirit and appointed men whose job it was to be obedient to the faith and help take care of the people in need. These first 7 Deacons were anointed for service, meaning they were transformed in spirit to direct their lives toward helping others in very practical terms and in living as a reflection of Jesus.

In our second reading, Peter gets very specific about what we are all called to do, not just those who are ordained, but all of us. The words of Peter should be understood as having been directed by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who is telling us that God has chosen us to take forth the mission of Christ.

So, there you go. In the gospel, Jesus tells us the way to eternal sanctuary, to eternal happiness, is through Him and through Him alone. Our readings from Acts and Peter have the disciples of Jesus doing just that, sharing the message of Jesus with others. The disciples said “Yes”. Now the Holy Spirit, through the works of the disciples, calls each of us to a “Yes”.

The disciples answered the call of Jesus in such a way as to call each of us to the Truth. We have the responsibility to call others to that same Truth. How? By saying “Yes” Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life.

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Theme in our Life Today

Yes and Truth in Our Life Today

The early Church is not so different than our Church today. They literally put their lives on the line to say Yes to the Truth. Today, we still have many parts of the world where saying Yes to the Truth can get you killed or imprisoned. I visited recently a part of the world where Christians do not have the same status of citizenship as others, and where most of the Christians have literally been run out of the country. In our country, the news media, social media, sports figures, and Hollywood-types are ready to condemn Christians, and Catholics in particular, as mean spirited rotten horrible people.

So why is it that so many people are willing to sacrifice so very much? Because there is a difference in living a life that engages and seeks the Truth from a life that seeks less than that. A life that seeks to live the Truth is one that leads to peace and joy. It is a life that can lead to struggle, and likely will, but there is great peace and joy that accompanies it.

Sounds odd doesn’t it? Find peace by sacrificing? Well, Yes, that is what happens when we put God first, others second and ourselves third.

The first 12 verses of this week’s gospel are often used as the gospel at funerals. The question becomes real as to whether the person who has passed from this world did in fact to see live the life as someone who saw Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life….or did they maybe follow their own way, their own truth, and live life they wanted primarily for themselves? Did they follow the Church on faith and morals…or did they follow the faith and morals they were told to live by the secular world?

The teachings of our Church are 100% intended to help us attain what God wants for us, that is, peace, joy, and happiness. And all of THAT begins with…TRUST! Trust that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that He instituted His Church, our Church, as the means by which we will attain it.

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Prepare for Sunday

  • Be honest with yourself…do you trust the teachings of our Church?

  • Be honest…do you know what the Church teaches about living in today’s world…or do you let social media, the news media, sports figures, and Hollywood-types tell you what our Church teaches?

  • There is a copy of the Catechism in the Fr. Ernie Library in the narthex…go explore!

You are deeply loved by a God who wants you to smile…so smile at Him today!

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