We are still basking in the afterglow of Easter. The Resurrection continues to work its transforming and renewing power. Spring moves gradually towards summer. The Church hurries towards Pentecost, the celebration of the outpouring of God’s life-giving spirit. We work and walk, play and pray, as an Easter people.
Our scripture today echoes the Acts of the Apostles as it relates to the centrality of the Easter mystery in the life of the Christian. In the Resurrection we are confronted with the irreducible core of our belief, namely that Jesus died and rose from the dead. This is what the apostles proclaimed, this is what animated the early Christian communities; this is what remains the core of Christian faith. We must remember that the Resurrection is the belief around which the Church grew.
On this Feast of Saints Philip and James, we are reminded that the heart of discipleship – theirs and ours – is being a dedicated witness to the Resurrection. As disciples, as followers of Jesus, we, too, are compelled to stand before the world as witnesses that God lives! We are to proclaim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!
The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to be apostles. Like Philip and James we are called by God as “ministers of a new covenant,” “servants of God,” “ambassadors for Christ,” and witnesses to the Resurrection. Just as the first apostles received both the mandate for their mission and the power to carry it out from Jesus himself, so it is for us through the grace of our baptism. Baptism is intimately related to the renewing and transforming power of Jesus, the Easter mystery.
How we live out our discipleship is unique to each of us. Only you know your capacity for compassion and love; only you know how you feed the hungry and embrace the poor; uniquely yours is your contribution to craft a more just and humane society, an environmentally sensitive and violent free society.
Of course, we do not accomplish the tasks of a follower of Jesus alone. As St. John says in today’s gospel: “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. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do…”Thusly empowered by the grace and the presence of a faithful God we can go about our tasks as followers of the Risen Lord. This is especially so in the Easter season. For as the French author, Francois Mauriac, noted “Since the resurrection we are apt to encounter the Lord when and where we least expect.”
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