As we return to the regular cycle of readings in Ordinary Time, we meet with a bracing spiritual teaching from the Lord Jesus. No matter who is threatening you, who is thundering denunciation, who is coming at you with furious intensity: don’t be afraid! Why? Because in Jesus Christ, you are connected to the very power of God, to that which is here and now creating the universe.
This Sunday the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi in Latin. This feast displays the distinctiveness of Christian religion amongst all the other religions, philosophies, and world views. No other group of people is called upon to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the person they admire. Christianity is the strangest way precisely because we are given this distinct access into the Divine Life.
On Trinity Sunday we contemplate the mystery of God as a play of persons. The Father gives rise to the Son while the Father and Son give rise to the Holy Spirit. God's unity is never compromised because the three are consubstantial, one in being. To begin to consider this mystery we must consider that love is what God is.
If you want the Holy Spirit, you have to declare the Lordship of Jesus. Love is precisely what the Holy Spirit is. Do you want life? Do you want meaning, purpose, the satisfaction of your deepest longing? Then be close to Jesus as he breathes out love. You will have what your heart is searching for.
This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord, perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements within the Christian narrative. The Ascension does not mean Jesus goes "up, up, and away" as if his presence leaves earth, but rather that he assumes the throne of heaven so as to direct matters here on earth.
This Easter season, the Church has asked us to meditate on the Acts of the Apostles. Today Jesus tells us to wait for the coming of the Spirit, which will descend upon them and empower them in their work. It is up to Christians today to continue the work of the apostles and spread the mission of Christ.
Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, which describes the farewell discourse of Jesus the night of the Last Supper. I believe that the distinctive texture of Christian faith is on particularly powerful display here. I might urge all of you to spend time with this farewell discourse during the Easter season.
Our first reading for this weekend, taken from the second chapter of Acts, conveys one of Peter’s great sermons. If we listen attentively, we can learn a lot about good preaching, but also a lot about the nature of Christianity.
Like the two disciples walking towards Emmaus, a symbol of worldly power and security, and away from Jerusalem, the center of sacrifice, we need to be stopped in our tracks. Christ appears to them, but they do not recognize him. They do not recognize him because they are walking the wrong way. The recognition of the pattern of Christ’s life does come until the Eucharistic act which presents the pattern of sacrificial love. Then they immediately go back to Jerusalem, the place of suffering love.
Jesus has come to bring us the divine life. Under his influence we become peaceful, unafraid, evangelizing, and forgiving. Through the Church, saints are made. This is because Christ is at the very center of the Church.