SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
(White) Cycle A/Year I (May 21, 2017)
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17/1 Pt 3:15-18/Jn 14:15-21
“I shall not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18a). These were the words of Jesus to His disciples as He began to foretell them about His death and His resurrection. The word “orphan” comes from the Greek word “orphanos” which means bereft of a father. The same word is also used when the master leaves his disciples either by dying or by just going into a far place. According to Plato, when Socrates died, his disciples said that they felt like an orphan, bereft of the presence of a father and of his teaching. In the case of Jesus Christ, Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving by dying on the cross. But He clearly stated that He would not leave them orphans because He would come back to them. The Easter which we celebrate until now is actually the proof that Jesus Christ has fulfilled His promise to His Apostles and to all of us that He would come back.
God never abandons us nor leaves us orphans! Jesus Christ is always present to us especially in our church. But the presence and the love of Christ demand that we be faithful to Him and to His teachings. Christ said in the gospel: “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). Throughout the Old Testament books, fidelity to the laws especially to the Law, the Ten Commandments of God, was required by Yahweh from His chosen people, the Israelites. All the teachings of the Patriarchs, Judges, Kings, Prophets, and Priests were centered on the obedience to the laws. But as we have seen throughout the history of Israel, the Israelites continued to disobey the laws, particularly the Law and this can be seen through the constant punishments of Yahweh to them, the unvarying message of the Prophets for them to repent and live according to the laws, and their continuous sufferings in the hands of the foreign sovereignty.
The good news is that Jesus Christ has come to give us new life. This new life is not the ordinary life that we enjoy but a special life that gives us the power to obey the Laws of God. More than that, this new life gives us the power to forgive those who have transgressed us and the capacity to love both our neighbors and even our enemies. This new life has such unbelievable capacities because this new life is none other than the very life of Jesus given to us through His death and resurrection. With such life of Jesus Christ, we have acquired a divine life and have become true children of God.
The question is why do we continuously falter and disobey the Will of God? The unceasing crimes in our society, the tremendous corruption done without a slight sense of guilt, the scandalous indifference of the rich towards the poor, the shameful injustice executed without any remorse of conscience, the contemptible greed for power acquired through wicked ways, the disgraceful abuse of the women and children, the immoral exchange of sexual pleasures, the wicked killing of the drug dependents, and many more transgressions on humanity and on God – all these manifest the fact that the new life given to us by the Risen Lord has not yet been lived out.
One thing is to receive, another thing is to accept what is given, and still a different thing is to use or live out what is given. Jesus Christ has given all of us the new life. Many of us have accepted such new life without much pondering. But very few have lived it that is why the world is still in chaos. If we want to make a better place to live in, we have to change ourselves and if we want to change, we must not only accept the new life of Christ but also live it. And we live it by being faithful to Christ and by keeping His commandments.