Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 21, 2023
A little explanation: For those of my readers who do not live in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, today’s readings will be different from the ones used for the reflection. In the archdioceses and dioceses within the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia, the Ascension of the Lord always falls on Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter and is a Holyday of Obligation. In all other archdioceses and dioceses, the Ascension of the Lord is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.
If you wish, you may use the Ascension reflection from last Thursday, or refer to this reflection by the always excellent Mary McGlone from this week’s NCR.
Could this be a rarely seen 1st century photo of Mary (in blue)
with some friends and the Eleven.
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our reading from Acts gives us a group photo of the “Apostolic Council”. Think of it as the foundational selfie of Catholic history. And all the big names are there in indelible magic marker with a few “also ran”s mentioned as a seeming afterthought.
Let’s talk about those “also ran”s – those unnamed champions of the faith who are there, who show up, who do the heavy lifting, and whose names disappear into history like the black powder in an Etch-a-Sketch. Let’s talk about them because they are us.
In his letter, Peter tells us to be joyful when our devotion to the faith brings us suffering! Doing so, we become the unnamed disciples of the Gospel carrying human history forward to eternal life.
Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Living with that kind of resolute joy is a huge challenge unless we understand the reason for it. Jesus explains the reason clearly in our Gospel – eternal life.
Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
We not talking about a good life, a happy life, a complete life, an inspiring life. They are all really wonderful things. What we’re talking about here is THE only thing that matters:
Let’s ask for it. Let’s pray for it. Let’s do everything we can to open our hearts to it!
Poetry: Forever Is Composed of Nows – Emily Dickinson
Forever – is composed of Nows –
’Tis not a different time –
Except for Infiniteness –
And Latitude of Home –
From this – experienced Here –
Remove the Dates – to These –
Let Months dissolve in further Months –
And Years – exhale in Years …
Music: Song to the Moon – from Rusalka
Rusalka Op. 114, is an opera (‘lyric fairy tale’) by Antonín Dvořák. The “Song to the Moon” is so beautiful and one of my favorite arias. The vocal version is thrilling, but I found this instrumental version which is more fitting for meditation. I hope you enjoy it.