7th Sunday Of Easter-Year A.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“The Hour Of The Glory Of The Son”.
In the general calendar of the Church, this ‘Seventh Sunday of Easter’ is the Sunday between the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord (observed on the Thursday after the Sixth Sunday of Easter) and the solemnity of Pentecost.
In the first reading, Jesus’ disciples return from the Mount of Olives and persist unanimously in prayer, all eleven of them, together with the woman and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
The second reading advises us not be ashamed to suffer for being a Christian. There are still plenty of opportunities to share in ‘the glory that comes to rest’ on those who suffer in the name of Christ.
In the Gospel, Jesus prays for unity on the eve of his death and what a wonderful prayer it is! This prayer that Jesus prays is not just about his friends at the ‘Last Supper’; he is praying for us and our spiritual brothers and sisters as well, that we would be ‘one’ with God and each other.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“In the Old Testament the ‘New’ is hidden.
In the New Testament the ‘Old’ is laid open”.
This last Thursday, we celebrated the feast of the Ascension. In our hearts and minds Jesus has ascended into heaven, we therefore turn our thoughts to the end of Easter to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.
The first reading is also set between Ascension and Pentecost, and we take it up as Jesus’ disciples return from the Mount of Olives. The very first thing that they do is to ‘persist unanimously in prayer, all eleven of them, along with the woman, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers and sisters’. It is upon this prayerful community that the Spirit will come, and if we today feel the lack of the Spirit, then perhaps we should work on our prayer-life as a community.
This is the last explicit mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus that the New Testament gives us. It is her last appearance, as it were, but an appropriate appearance: as a member of the believing community, engaged in watchfulness and prayer, open to the next events in the history of salvation in which she has already played such an important role. This reading is obviously intended to direct our attention to the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost that will be remembered and celebrated on the following Sunday. Our reading seems to cry out for the phrase, ‘to be continued’ at its close.
The continuation will be not only the account of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost but also the continuation of the life of the Church, a life of togetherness in community, a life of ongoing prayer, a life of openness for the gifts of the Lord. This Sunday’s little vignette of life in the infant Church is not only a golden nugget of interesting historical information it is also a pattern for the Church’s life in the centuries to come.
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8a.
The Psalm acknowledges God’s presence in the Jerusalem Temple and reveals the confidence that prayer affords. This is a God who meets every human need. It begins with great enthusiasm, ‘YHWH is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?’ Praying gives us a sense of what matters: ‘one thing I ask from YHWH, only this do I seek, to dwell in YHWH’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on YHWH’s beauty, and to visit his Temple’. Our Psalm concludes with a final, urgent prayer, ‘Hear, YHWH, my voice; I cry out, have mercy on me and answer me’. This is a Psalm that would be prayed by the disciples and Mary as they awaited the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 4:13-16.
What does it mean to suffer for being a Christian today? Most of our suffering comes when we have to reconsider the ‘call’ to right livelihood, when we have to end relationships or change patterns of behaviour in conformity to the Gospel. The cost is also felt when we have to give up pleasures and freedoms for the sake of justice, or when we are ridiculed for speaking the truth or when we make an on-going commitment that will require effort and sacrifice, to walk in the ‘Way’ of righteousness
1 Peter is addressed to Christians enduring persecution in Asia Minor, it seems; and so the author tells these sufferers to rejoice, insofar as you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings, in order that you may also rejoice, exulting at the revelation of his glory. Then echoing the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel he says, ‘if you are reviled in the name of Christ, congratulations! The Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of God will rest upon you’.
The Gospel reading for today is the beginning of a prayer which is sometimes called Jesus’ ‘High-Priestly Prayer’, which makes a fine logical conclusion to the whole ‘Farewell Discourse’ (Chapters 13-17). It is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in the Gospel. It unfolds in three main sections: Jesus prays for himself (Jn 17:1-5), then for his apostles who have been closely associated with him during his mission (Jn 17: 6-19) and finally for the unity of future disciples (Jn 20-26). He prays for his disciples, present and future, who will face opposition and for those who will welcome his Word. All three parts are, in this way, caught up in the one and same offering of Jesus to the Father. In this prayer of total abandonment to God, his coming suffering and death take on the meaning as a ‘total gift’.
The word ‘hour’ in the Gospel of John has a special meaning. The first time we hear the expression in John’s Gospel is at the ‘Wedding at Cana’. Jesus says to his mother that his ‘hour’ has not yet come (Jn 2:4). Later on when Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman, he says that an ‘hour’ is coming when the real adorers of the Father will adore him in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:23). To the ‘Jews’ who oppose him, Jesus says that this ‘hour’ is also the time of his Resurrection, the end-time (Jn 5:25, 28). The arrival of Greeks who desire to see Jesus has him declare, “the hour has come for the ‘Son of Man’ to be glorified” (Jn 12:23).
The verb in ‘to glorify oneself’ can these days have a somewhat negative meaning: to make oneself appear better that what one actually is. That is not at all the meaning in the Bible, and even less so in the Gospel of John. The evangelist uses the words glory, glorification, to glorify oneself to speak of the death of Jesus and of his return to the Father. In completing the mission that his Father entrusted to him and in dying on the Cross, Jesus ‘glorifies’ his Father.
In the Resurrection of Jesus, the Father confirms the testimony given by his Son. This is how both are glorified, hence, the double affirmation of Jesus in (verse 1). Jesus insists on the ‘knowledge of God’ as a source of eternal life. This knowledge is transmitted by a concrete and unique event: his death and Resurrection, and eternal life begins right here and now for those who welcome Jesus and his message.
Jesus’ last testament is that his followers be brought into a loving union with the Father that he shares. Jesus knows that the apostles will meet rejection, opposition and persecution, but in spite of this, he sends them into the world to be his witnesses. The word ‘world’ in a positive sense is the privileged place of the revelation of God and his plan to save all. It is through acting in history and in collaboration with people that the history of the world becomes God’s history.
However the word ‘world’ in the Gospel of John also frequently has a negative meaning. However, no disciple of Jesus can, in the name of faith in Jesus, abdicate his or her responsibility of caring for the world and promoting God’s life in it irrespective of any opposition that they may receive.
Faith in Jesus is precisely what pushes the disciple towards
a commitment to others.
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week
to lead us in the ‘Way’:
Almighty God and Father, on the… following the 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A,
we reflect on ….
Sun … Let us today return from our Sunday Mass to our ‘Upper Room’ and persist in prayer that the Spirit will come to our community. Let us pray for wisdom on the Easter Mysteries so that we may fully understand these earth-shattering events in order that our faith may be totally enriched and become one with God.
Mon … The original novena counts the nine days from the fortieth day (Ascension) to the fiftieth (Pentecost). These are days of waiting with prayerful expectation on the coming of the Holy Spirit. The ‘Upper Room’ is a symbol of our ‘private place’, where we go to rise in prayer above the many defeats, frustrations and anxieties of life that attempts to bring us into despair.
Tues … The apostles joined in continuous prayer with the Mother of Jesus. We too can pray the novena with the Blessed Virgin Mary in the many derivatives that the Rosary affords us. We need to ask ourselves if our prayer life has a personal and communal expression and meditate on what wonderful opportunities for prayer that we might be missing?
Wed … ‘Christian Suffering’ is not outdated. There are still many opportunities to share in the ‘glory that comes to rest’ on those who suffer in the name of Christ. It is our choice!
Thurs … Jesus prays for unity on the eve of his death. What a wonderful prayer it is! He acknowledges his ‘Oneness’ with God, bearing the life of God as a Son bears within himself the life of the Father. Jesus also speaks of his bond with his followers and how, they are also given to God. How can we speak of our bond with Jesus? Can we acknowledge our ‘oneness’ with the Lord?
Frid … This prayer that Jesus prays is not just about his friends at the Last Supper; he is praying for us as well. On the night before he died Jesus prayed for all of us. He asked that God protect us as we journey in a world full of obstacles and temptations. As he contemplated the hour of his death, we were on his mind.
Sat … Let us as disciples of Christ support Jesus’ prayer for unity in the Church and that all Christians may unite in a common purpose to serve God and to do his will. No Christian can abdicate his or her responsibility of caring for the ‘world’ and promoting God’s life and forgiving love for all.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, we pray for the ‘Power of Unity’ and Your grace to enable us however difficult and painful it may be that we strive continuiously for the unity that our Lord and Saviour wanted in his Church and in the world. We pray for the strength and courage to endure to achieve this ‘Pearl of Great Price’.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.