April 22, 2013
All the readings for this fifth Sunday of Easter underline the wonderful truth that something new has happened and that we are the beneficiaries of the good news.
For example, from the gospel we learn that the most important identifying quality of Christians is that love that we have for one another. "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
It was this love that compelled Paul and Barnabas (Acts, first reading) to persevere in carrying the message of salvation to as many places and people as possible. It is the same love that urges us to proclaim the good news:
We may not be called to the same kind of missionary activity as were Paul and Barnabas. But we must be as unselfish in our service of others as were these early Christians. Family life can be very trying, and not all people are exhilarated by the work they do. Still, it is precisely in situations such as these that we might be called to "undergo many hardships."
Shortly after the Second Vatican Council, banners appeared with the message: We are Easter people! The slogan may not have had a wide appeal, but the challenge it implies continues to be true. Indeed, we are Easter people. And as Easter people the distinguishing feature of every Christian according to Jesus is love, i.e., truly authentic Christian love must be more than mere words; love must become a way of life. It is through the commandment of love that we bring about the "new heaven and the new earth." What is holding us back from transforming the world?