Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 18 and 19, 2019
The readings today speak to the universal nature of our call to be disciples. That seems kind of simple, and while reflecting on these readings this week, I found myself thinking about what I might be missing. But as they say on Sundays in the NFL, “upon further review, the call was correct on the field.” It is that simple. We are called to be of service to the Kingdom of God.
Often, when we hear that phrase, the Kingdom of God, most of us default to thinking about heaven exclusively. But there’s more to it than that. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus tells us how citizens of that Kingdom should regard one another and work toward making that Kingdom present here on earth.
In the readings today, that point is driven home, both by the extensive account of Paul and Barnabas’ travels in the Acts of the Apostles spreading the good news to the entire known world, and the account from the Book of Revelations where God is described as wiping away all of our tears and sorrows and creating a new world order “where there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Rev. 1:4) That new order is created by the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of the Christ, the Paschal Mystery that we hear so much about during this Easter Season. It’s not coming, it’s already here, and we are tasked with making it happen.
That seems like a pretty tall order until we hear the Gospel of John simply explain how. We build the Kingdom of God by following the simple plan of Jesus: “I give you a new commandment: love one another, as I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So, the simplicity is that we are recognized as kingdom builders by our love; our love for each other, regardless of proximity. The only complication occurs when we remember how much Jesus loved us… to death. Kingdom building may carry a heavier price than what we imagine. How willing are we to love one another like Jesus loved us?
Now that’s some food for thought this week.
– Barry Zavislan