5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 6:1-7     1 Peter 2:4-9     John 14:1-12

Lent 1Our Gospel reading this Sunday continues with the same theme as last Sunday; Jesus identifying Himself in such a way that the disciples can understand Him.  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” This Gospel reading is often used at funeral liturgies of Christians.  Followers of Jesus Christ believe that in Jesus they find the manner of living to please God, they know that He is the one to teach us the Truth about God and the World and that the glorified Life, that He has, is shared with all who listen to him and are faithful to His word.

Saint Peter in the second reading of today’s Mass helps us to identify ourselves with this same Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, when he says “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people set apart.”  It is another way of saying that we are following the Way that Jesus claims He is, that we are guided by what is good and holy and that our lives are consecrated and blessed.  Peter, the Rock on which the Lord built his Church, is emphasising for us the strength and endurance of our way of life and our Faith because it is built on ‘precious stone’, because the stone rejected by the world is our corner-stone and the Rock on which we are built.

(We are reminded of the endurance of Rock or Stone this weekend we see the Stone of Scone, the Stone of Destiny from the 14th Century, used by the King as his chair for the Coronation – a symbol of endurance and steadfastness!)

Again, in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles we learn that while the early Church was increasing in number and influence, the Apostles continued to identify themselves to the political authorities and to the disciples who were forming the Church.  “We must not neglect the word of God” so as to do social services. The role of the ‘chosen race, the royal priesthood, the holy nation’ was to devote themselves “to prayer and to the service of the word.”  This role remains today!  We are called to the same service and are assured of the steadfastness of the Rock on which we are built.

Saint Francis of Assisi, interpreting this role of the disciples of Jesus, wrote a rule of life for his followers.  He summed it up as ‘observing the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.’ He used the word ‘observing’ which expresses the need to pay attention to the word of God as well as the need to obey the word of God. Saint Francis knew that the truth we require would be found only the word of God.