June 2017

4 June |Pentecost Sunday | John 20:19-23 - Jesus Appears to the Disciples  
This is John's Pentecost, taking place on Easter Sunday, with the risen Lord appearing to his disciples, hidden behind closed doors ‘for fear of the Jews’, and breathing the Spirit on them.  Fear changes to peace and courage with the giving of the Spirit.  What Jesus' presence means to his disciples is faith in his risen presence, and peace and joy.  He meets them in their frightened closed in state. By giving them his Spirit, Jesus empowers his disciples, then and now, to continue his mission.  A new creation takes place when God breathes new life into humanity.  Forgiveness of sins breathes new life into the community.

Jesus’ greeting, ‘Peace be with you’, goes beyond being just his wish for them; it is an announcement that ‘Peace is with you.’  That it is himself is evident from his wounds, yet they are signs of the peace he gives through his victory over death.  The joy his presence brings, like the peace he brings, is one of the great gifts of the Spirit.  Sorrow has been turned to joy.  With the appearance of the risen Christ there is always a commission, so “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.”  The Spirit accompanies us on that assignment.

 

11 June | Trinity Sunday | John 3:16-18 - God so loved the world  
When we want to say to someone “I love you” we often give them a gift.  The greatest gift we give is that of our lives, whether to one another in marriage or to the people of God we call the community of Christians, in the manner of our Marist life for others.  But this is all a reflection, an inspiration, of the gift that God gave us in Jesus Christ, out of love for us who make up the world God so loved.  Not only did God give us Jesus Christ, God’s Son, but he allowed him to be given over in his saving death for us.  The power in the last statement that believing in Jesus is our source of life, because that faith leads to love in action, which ultimately is a guarantee that we are already saved (realised eschatology).

‘The world’ in John is ambiguous.  It is the world at times united against Jesus, the world that existed in a darkness that sought to overcome the light.  It is also the world that is the object of God’s love and Jesus came to rescue it from the darkness, the world that God sent the Son into.  It is all the plan of the Father, the work of the Son, and the impulse of the Spirit; how good the line that says “The Trinity is not a mystery to be explained, but is a relationship to be lived.”

 

18 June | Corpus Christi | John 6:51-59 - True Food, True Drink  
Jesus begins with the claim to be the true bread come down from heaven, a text that parallels “I am the Bread of Life.”  The movement is from ‘believing’ to ‘eating.’  We should remember the lines from the Old Testament about ‘devouring the word’ as ‘Bread for the journey.’ In John 6 it is both the presence of the Lord in his Word as well as his presence in the Eucharist.”  Both are equally real.  Here Jesus identifies the bread that he will give for the life of the world as his flesh.  While this takes us to his words over the bread and the cup, ‘myself given for you’, it also points to the sacrifice of his human life in his death on a cross.

This passage comes at the end of a long discourse in which faith has been stressed.  Eating is a metaphor for faith in the Son of Man that comes to us from the communicating with the real person of Jesus.  A participation in the Eucharist incorporates the literal eating and drinking but it is accompanied by an awareness of union with the One who came down from heaven to give his life that we might not perish but share eternal life with him.  Do not forget that we are to be fed from both tables at Mass, that of the Word and the Eucharist.

 

25 June | 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time | Matthew 10:26-33 - Witnesses for Christ  
Jesus the teacher in Matthew assures his followers of God’s care for them, the unconditional love of God for all creation.  “Do not be afraid” is stated three times; the gospel cannot be hidden: trust in a loving God who watches over the life and death of even the smallest and least valuable creatures (sparrows being the cheapest edible bird of that time).  Failure to witness to the immense love of God, to fearlessly proclaim the Good News, and the sisterhood and brotherhood we have in Jesus, will lead to Jesus disowning relationship with the wreak and frightened disciple.

The reminder is there, that the disciples are completely in the hands of the Father in whose sight they have surpassing value.  They are to proclaim the Gospel message boldly and openly for its message is meant for all.  God’s providential care will be with them (that covenant promise that permeates Matthew, from beginning to end – “I will be with you…”) and that care will never falter.