5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 14:21-27       Apocalypse 21:1-5     John 13:31-35

“Now has the Son of Man been glorified”

It is the time of year when everything springs to new life and the word for it is ‘glorification’.  Jesus has risen from the dead; spring and early summer bring colour, new growth and sunshine; the newly-baptised lift the spirits of the Christian communities; Alleluias fill our songs of praise.

The Scripture readings at our Eucharist today alert us to the reasons for our joy-filled liturgies.  Paul and Barnabas travel through all of Judea proclaiming all that God has done with them and how even the pagans are beginning to come to the Faith.  John, in his vision of the ‘new heaven and the new earth’, sees the ‘One sitting on the throne’ speaking: “Now I am making the whole of creation new”.  And in the Gospel today Jesus declares “Now the Son of Man has been glorified”. 

Some years ago a journalist commenting on this passage of St John’s Gospel said that he didn’t like the way that Jesus seemed to be taking on this glorification of himself as something of His own doing rather than giving the glory to the Father.  Was it not the very opposite of this?  Jesus took on human flesh, became lowly like one of us precisely to win us back for the Father and thereby give eternal honour and praise and thanksgiving to the Father.

All of the other signs of new life and the wonder of nature unite to give glory to the Father.  “The sun rises and goes down … the wind blows to the south and goes round to the north … the streams run to the sea but the sea is not full …” (Eccles 1:5-7)  Nobody can take credit for all of this and all of this gives glory to God.  This is the role of creation.  All of these are glorious because they have come from God, who is glory.  All created things then bear the marks of the Creator: they are like the footprints of God proclaiming that He has passed this way on Earth.  But WE are called to be even more than footprints of God.  We are called to share the life of Jesus.                                                                              As Saint Paul says “Blessed be God the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ … who chose us in Christ … determining that we should become his adopted children … to make us praise the glory of His grace.’(Eph 1:3-6) 

So, we can proclaim with Jesus “Now have we been glorified.”

Yes, we human creatures have been lifted up. Wonderfully, human beings can reach the new heaven and share the life of the Risen Jesus.  Today the Church rejoices at the declaration of the Saintliness of Ten men and women whose lives were glorified by God and who in turn gave glory to God.

We rejoice especially today at the canonisation of Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.  Saint Titus lived a life a great holiness and dedication to defending the teaching of the Gospel.  His suffering and death in the concentration camp of Dachau was the crowning of the gifts that God gave to him.  We are assured that he intercedes for us and pray that we will learn from him how to become holy and that God will be glorified in us also.