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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter
1st Reading (Acts 14:19-28): In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city.

On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch. They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, «It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God».

They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. Then they traveled through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. After proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished. And when they arrived, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent no little time with the disciples.
Responsorial Psalm: 144
R/. Your friends make known, o Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, o Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might.

Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.

May my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Versicle before the Gospel (Lk 24:26): Alleluia. Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 14:27-31a): Jesus said to his disciples; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”

“My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you”

Fr. Enric CASES i Martín (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus speaks to us indirectly of the cross: He will give us the peace, but at the cost of His painful “departure” from this world. Today, we read those words He said before the sacrifice on the Cross but that were written after His Resurrection. With His death on the Cross, He defeats both death and fear. He gives the peace “Not as the world gives” (Jn 14:27), inasmuch as He does it by going through the most excruciating pain and humiliation: this is how He proved His merciful love for man.

From the moment sin entered the world, suffering in our lives has been unavoidable. There are times when it is a physical pain; other times, it is a moral suffering; and then, there are times when it is a matter of a spiritual pain… and we all have to die. But God in His infinite love has given us the remedy to have peace amidst the pain: He has accepted “to leave” this world with a painful “departure” surrounded by serenity.

Why did He do it in such a way? Because thus, human pain —together with Christ's suffering— becomes a sacrifice that saves us from sin. “In the Cross of Christ… human suffering has been redeemed” (Saint John Paul II). Jesus Christ quietly suffered to please the Heavenly Father with an act of costly obedience, through which He willingly offered Himself for our salvation.

An unknown author of the 2nd century attributes these words to Jesus: “See the spits over my face, which I received from you, to restore the original breath of life I had blown on your face. See my cheeks, which were slapped so I could reshape your damaged appearance according to my new image. See my back, which was lashed to remove the weight of your sins from your shoulders. See my hands, so strongly nailed to the cross for you, who, in times ago, fatally stretched out one of your hands towards the forbidden tree.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Peace is a true gift of the presence of Jesus in the midst of his Church. Lord, guard your Church in tribulation, so she does not lose faith, so she does not lose hope” (Francis)

  • “Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ (...) By the blood of his Cross, ‘in his own person he killed the hostility’ (Eph 2:16), he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God (...)” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2305)