First reading: Acts 15:1–2,22–29
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.
The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them:
“The apostles and the elders, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’”
Second reading: Rev. 21:10–14,22–23
The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.
Gospel: Jn. 14:23–29
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. 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.”
In other words Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)
Ever wondered why the Church arranged the liturgical calendar in such a way that after the Resurrection Jesus had to linger around for six weeks before he ascended into heaven?
To answer the question, let us take a look at some mysterious and strange events that happened after the Resurrection. First, Jesus told Mary at the tomb, “Don’t touch me.” And yet he asked Thomas, “Put your hand into my side.” Second, “Despite the locked doors, Jesus came.” Another was when John entered the tomb where Jesus was laid, the Gospel narrates, “He saw and believed.” Strange, because John saw an empty tomb; he saw nothing, and yet he believed. Furthermore, when the two Marys came at dawn to inspect the tomb of Jesus, suddenly Jesus appeared; “…without warning, Jesus stood before them…”
The two disciples going to Emmaus experienced a similar strange encounter with the Resurrected Lord; while on their way, Jesus walked with them, but they did not recognize him. It took a discourse and a meal before their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.
These happenings of “now you see him, now you don’t” after the Resurrection needed time and suggest to us that Jesus was preparing his people for a new period in the history of salvation. Whereas the Old Testament announced the coming of a Messiah and the New Testament fulfills this prophecy in Jesus and his mission, now, another period has come. We are in this era. And this stage is described as:
- the time of the Church and sacraments
- the time of the Holy Spirit
- a time of faith
This is a time when we see him and not see him through the signs in the sacraments according to our faith inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In this period, we need the Church to encounter the Resurrected Lord; by faith we shall see him behind the signs in our sacramental celebrations. And all this the Holy Spirit will make possible, according to the Gospel today.
Will I be at home at this stage?