Fifth Sunday of Easter Mass and Reflections

Mass Readings for Sunday are here

and a variety of reflections from St Louis University Centre for Liturgy are here.

Reading Two    1 : Peter 2: 4-9


Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house

to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For it says in Scripture:

Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,

a cornerstone, chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith:

The stone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone
 , and
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.
You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,

so that you may announce the praises” of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Image "Christ of the Boulders" by Paul Judson, reproduced from]

The beautiful O Christe Domine Jesu music and chant 

Gospel John 14 : 1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?


And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.

Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.


How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.

Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”

Seminarian Ronald Perez chants the proclamation of the Gospel (St. John 14:1-12) during Pope Benedict XVI's Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium 2008.

Centuries later, I am reminded of Thomas' namesake, Thomas Merton and I wonder if he had this gospel passage in mind when he wrote his famous prayer for discernment.....

O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
And that fact that I think
I am following Your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.


But I believe
That the desire to please You
Does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire
In all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything
Apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust You always
Though I may seem to be lost
And in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
For You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me
To make my journey alone.

Source: Thomas Merton, Pax Christi, Benet Press, Erie, PA.

                                                 Staple Singers : I'll Take You There

 Further Reflections

The word became flesh, said St John, and
too often the Church has turned the flesh back into words…
The heart of what God communicates is not ideas or
instructions, but himself. 

The Gospel passage shows just how much He loves us. 

He has to go and leave but He knows our frailty and lack of direction - so he makes provision for us - He WILL come back and in the meantime He will send us the life giving Spirit of Pentecost and He gives us his body and blood in the precious gift of the Eucharist.
For this reason words alone are inadequate, and flesh-and-blood and Spirit become the means through which God made himself known to us.

What Peter makes clear in the first reading us that now we are ALL a chosen race and we are ALL a royal priesthood ; no bars or restrictions - so why does the Church  waste our precious time trying to set up petty futile barriers to the enactment of that gift ? 

I came across this poem My Country Awake... by Rabindranath Tagore but I have substituted the word My Church in the title and in the last line...

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;

Into that heaven of freedom, my God, let my church awake.

Staple Singers Again !

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