The Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas has said, “Christianity is not beliefs about God plus behavior. We are Christians not because of what we believe, but because we have been called to be disciples of Jesus.
The Inner Word
We hear different “giving of the Spirit” stories today: the spectacular events in the “upper room” and the risen Jesus’ breathing the Spirit on the disciples when he first appeared to them.
Amid the complexities of John’s theology, we find two simple statements: God is love, and no one has ever seen God. In our concrete experience of love, therefore, God becomes “visible.”
John Joseph, who received the 2001 Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award for his race relations and antipoverty work while a student at Ole Miss, said in accepting his award, “Our love for others demonstrates that we recognize God’s love for us.”
A church at peace, growing, and in awe of the Lord. A God who can overcome our limitations. A Lord to whom we are joined as branches to a vine. The readings for this Sunday exude a sense of well-being, a kind of Easter confidence.
Good Shepherd Sunday provides an opportunity to reflect on leadership and on how leaders model God for their people. Scripture challenges leaders to make their life and work transparent so that people see and come to God in and through them.
In today’s readings we hear of how we come to love. Repentance, conversion, and forgiveness—these experiences are met by God’s love and lead us to return that love to God and others.
Believers are those who are of one mind and body, know Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and love God by keeping God’s commandments. Ask yourself the following questions in the spirit of exploring what faith means to you.
The reading from Acts of the Apostles is a kind of “mini-gospel”: We hear of the baptism John preached and of Jesus anointed with spirit and power, going about doing good and healing, and of his death and Resurrection. We hear ourselves included in the story: those to whom Jesus is visible, who eat and drink with him, who preach and witness to him.
Passion Sunday marks our entrance into the high feast of our faith, the great holy days and sacred time of our lives as Christians. As you contemplate the readings for today’s liturgies—and the liturgies throughout the week—you may want to ask the Holy Spirit for special grace to enter into the Easter mysteries and to help lead others to enter into them.