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Gospel for Sunday, May 22: John 14: 23-29

VI Easter C

23Jesus answered him: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me does not observe my words; the word that you hear is not mine, but of the Father who sent me. 25These things I told you when I was still among you. 26But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything that I have told you. 27I leave you peace, I give you my peace. Not as the world gives it, I give it to you. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. 28You have heard that I said to you: I go and will return to you; if you loved me, you would rejoice that I go to the Father, because the Father is greater than me. 29I told you now, before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe”.

John 14: 23-29

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

Five great themes in this wonderful passage from the Gospel of John:

1. Obey the Word of God

God speaks, reveals himself, but asks to be listened to. “Hear (Shema’), my people, I want to admonish you; Israel, if you would listen to me!” (Ps 8,9). Listening constitutes the primary condition for relating to God: “If you truly listen to my voice and keep my covenant…, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex 19.4-6).

But the Word heard must then be put into practice. Following Jesus implies concrete works of justice and love. As John will exhort: “Children, let us not love with words or with the tongue, but with deeds and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). Jesus’ message in this sense is very clear: “Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name?” But I will declare to them: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of iniquity”” (Mt 7,12-23).

2. Abide in God

The verb “to remain” (μένειν) is found 118 times in the New Testament, of which 67 in the Gospel and in the Letters of John. The term appears most often (43 out of 67 cases) in the compound expression “remain in”.

We can distinguish three ways of using the verb “to remain” and the expressions connected to it (for example: “to be in”): first of all the simply biographical-spatial use; secondly, the expressions that recur in the stories of the evangelical encounters, such as those with John and Andrew (Jn 1.38-39) and with the Samaritans (Jn 4.40-42); finally the formulas contained in the speeches of Jesus or in the Letters: these are invitations to the disciples to remain in Him, taking root in his word and in his love for him. There are statements in which the relationship of Jesus with the disciples and the relationship of Jesus with the Father and the communion with the Father and with the Son that is experienced by the disciples are indicated together.

There is a passage ab extra ad intra. From an external use we move on to an internal use. Remaining, like looking and seeing, in John describes the dynamics of the disciples’ Faith. The Johannine “remaining” originates from and is always related to the historical and visible manifestation of Jesus, the Word made flesh. From remaining with him to remaining in him; He says that we can come to Him because the Father who sent Him draws us to Him (Jn 6.44; 12.32).

Remaining is the condition that identifies the disciples of Jesus (Jn 1.39). They are not the best, the most religious or the most moral. They are simply those who remain with him and in him. Christianity is always like this: first and foremost an encounter, an opportunity given, absolutely free.

3. The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the light that illuminates us: he is the Spirit of truth (Jn 14.17; 15.26; 16.13; 1 Jn 4.6; 5.6), the interior teacher of the disciples, who not only remembers Jesus’ teaching to them (14.26), but makes them understand it, guiding them to the whole truth (Jn 16.13). In fact, only the Spirit “knows the secrets of God…, and we have received the Spirit of God to know everything that God has given us” (1 Cor 2,10-16).

The Holy Spirit makes us understand the Word of God, which is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6.17; cf. Heb 4.12; Dei Verbum 11; 18; 21): “You have received the Word of God with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 1:6).

4. Peace

What is the meaning of “peace” in the Bible? The Hebrew term shalòm does not correspond to the simple absence of war of the Greek eirène or to the security based on bilateral pacts of the Latin pax: shalòm derives from the root slm, which essentially means “completion”, “fullness”, also in the sense of “repair”, “restitutio ad integrum”. Shalòm therefore means all well-being (Jdg 19.20), luck and prosperity (Ps 73.3), physical health (Is 57.18; Ps 38.4), contentment and satisfaction (Gn 15.15; 26.29; Ps 4.9), full understanding between peoples and people (1 Kings 5.26; Jd 4.17; 1 Chr 12.17.18), total salvation (Jer 14.13; 29.11; Is 45.7): peace it is somehow the very essence of God, whose name is precisely “IHWH SHALOM”, “God Peace” (Jg 6.4).

Israel therefore awaits an eschatological kingdom of peace (Is 54,10; 62,1.2), which will be achieved by the Messiah, “prince of peace”, under whose dominion “peace will have no end” (Is 9,5-6; cf. Is 11,1-9; 42,1-4; 49,6). This hope was realized precisely in the gift that God, “the God of peace” (Rom 15.33; Heb 13.20; 2 Thess 3.16), makes of himself to men, Christ himself.

Those who adhere to Jesus must live “in peace with each other” (Mk 9.50; 2 Cor 13.11) and with all men (Rom 12.18; Heb 12.14). “God… has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5,17), called to always forgive (Mt 18,22), not to take into account the evil received (1 Cor 13 ,5), to love ourselves as Christ loved us, to the point of giving our lives for our brothers (Jn 15,12-13)… Only if we become tireless “peacemakers” will we be called “children of God” (Mt 5 ,9).

5. The promise of Paradise

Jesus assures us: “In my Father’s house there are many places. If not, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you; when I go and prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, so that you too may be where I am” (Jn 14:2-4). In the end we will be told: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Mt 25.34).

The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council states: “The instinct of the heart of man makes him judge correctly, when he abhors and rejects the idea of a total ruin and definitive annihilation of his person… The Church, instructed by divine revelation, affirms that man was created by God for a purpose of happiness beyond the confines of earthly misery… God in fact called and calls man to cling to him with his whole nature in perpetual communion with the incorruptible divine life … Through Christ and in Christ that enigma of pain and death comes to light, which without his Gospel would be unbearable. Christ is risen, destroying death with his death, and has given us life” (Gaudium et Spes, nn. 18.22).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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