5th Sunday of Easter
Acts 14:21-27 Revelation 21:1-5a John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Going and making disciples is certainly an important ministry. Ensuring the continued strengthening of these disciples is equally important. In the reading from Acts, Paul and Barnabas not only add new disciples to Christ’s church, they also make sure that the work of the church will continue. They appoint elders and organize these new communities of faith. This organizational structure is essential to the work of the church. It ensures that the church stays true to its mission. Through it, new disciples are formed in the message of salvation and the work of the church continues from generation to generation.
The reading from Revelation and the reading from the Gospel of John together help us understand the radical nature of Christ’s message of love. Revelation tells us that the sea, the symbol of the chaos of the past, is no more. The new Jerusalem has come down from heaven and is joined to humanity for all time. Christ is now here, dwelling within each of the baptized in a radical new way. Christ gives us the new commandment to love each other as He loves us. When we love, we reveal Christ’s presence among us. This is a love beyond any human concept of love. It is a love that has no concern for cost, a love that calls us to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, and grant mercy to enemies. Our baptism demands that we radically love one another as God loves us. This love is our work, the work of the Christ’s church on earth.