Although the little story of Martha and Mary has been interpreted throughout the centuries as a parable dealing with the “active” and “contemplative” approach to the spiritual life, it can be read as Christ's invitation to all people to partake in his inner circle of discipleship. Christ overturned the social conventions of his time by summoning all people to discipleship. Thus, we must remove all barriers to discipleship for all people.
During the twentieth century, moral relativism was in vogue in elite cultural circles, but now it is the dominant moral outlook of the broader culture. Against this, C.S. Lewis argued for “the universality and inescapability of the moral law.” Although there are subtle moral differences between cultures, if we look close enough, we can discern fundamental moral agreements. The Catholic tradition says that this moral bedrock is a reflection of the Eternal Law in the mind of God. It is the voice of God within us. Listen to that voice.
St. Paul tells us in our second reading that he boasts in the cross of Jesus. To any of his hearers in the first century this would have sounded like madness. Paul can boast in this shameful thing precisely because God has raised Jesus from death and thereby placed the world-the realm of hatred, violence, and division-under judgment. Now we must have the courage to leave the world and enter into the new creation which is the body of Christ.
In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him. If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.
The Church comes from the Eucharist for it is the sacrifice that makes saints. The Eucharist is essentially the fullest act of gratitude prefigured in Melchizedek finding its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ. Every Mass is a participation in and celebration of this sacrifice, but the feast of Corpus Christi is a time to be especially aware of the gift of the Eucharist.
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Nicene Creed articulates the mystery of the Trinity with the wonderful phrase "begotten not made," meaning that the Son is not a creature but rather shares in the selfsame nature as the Father. The Holy Spirit is then the life-giving love breathed out between the Father and the Son.
Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, one of the truly great moments in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit comes to give many spiritual gifts, which prepare us to enter into relationship with Christ and embark on mission.
Too often we read the Ascension as the moment when Jesus “went away,” when he left us on our own and went off to heaven, where we hope some day to join him. But the Ascension is not Jesus going away; it is Jesus assuming his position as leader of the Church’s life.
On this seventh and final Sunday of the Easter season, I want to bring to a close my meditation on the extraordinary book of Revelation. With the disclosure of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Biblical narrative effectively comes to a close—and that’s true. But what we find today, in the very last words of the entire Scriptural corpus, is a kind of liturgical coda, a final prayer, a call and response between the Lord and his Church.
On this sixth Sunday of Easter, we are coming to the end of the book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible. We are approaching, in a word, the climax of the Biblical revelation, the point toward which the entire story had been tending. And we hear of the heavenly Jerusalem, a city with no temple—for the city itself, in its entirety, has become a temple, a place of right praise.