Fifth Sunday of Easter
Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35
May 14, 2022

On the Sunday after Easter, our Gospel Reading took us to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We heard how The Risen Christ had breakfast ready for Peter and several of his companions, who had an unsuccessful night of fishing. The Bible passage is packed with meaningful details, beautiful imagery, and powerful symbolism. But most folks only remember what happened at the end of the meal.

The Lord asked Peter the same question 3 times:

Peter…do you love me?
Peter…do you love me?
Peter…do you love me?

Now, over halfway through the Easter Season, the Church gives us a Gospel that carries us back to Holy Thursday. The passage begins with a very brief detail, but without a whole lot of imagery or symbolism. Nevertheless, that detail is of enormous significance.

When Judas had left them.

The very name of this individual conjures up a recollection of the most vile of betrayals, almost too raw to shake off before turning to and reflecting on The Lord’s discourse about GLORY…DISCIPLESHIP…AND LOVE!

John does not report any exchange between Jesus and the betrayer, as The Lord is about to be arrested and led off. But imagine for a moment how such a conversation might have gone. Possibly something like this:

Judas…when did you stop loving me?
Judas…why did you stop loving me?
Judas…did you ever really love me?

One might well question why the Church, at this point in the Easter Season, elects to take us back to The Last Supper. Moreover, why are we reminded about this tragic act of betrayal?
Maybe because, for most folks, the joy of Easter morning has begun to fade as we resume our day-to-day lives. By returning to the Upper Room, we have an opportunity to refresh our memories and deepen our understanding of, and appreciation for, The Paschal Mystery.

This is also a good time for us to ask ourselves a few questions…questions like:

Do I feel the call to conversion with the same intensity that I experienced during Lent?

Am I as focused on what discipleship asks of me as I was on Holy Thursday…as I recalled how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples?

Am I as mindful as I was on Good Friday, of all that Jesus endured in order to pay for our sins?

Have I continued to feel the excitement and joy of Easter morning?

The vile betrayal of Judas was a once-and-for-all event that can never be repeated. But, in our own small ways, we often betray our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is wise to remember that conversion is not a seasonal thing that we do during Lent…and then go back to business as usual. Conversion is a lifelong effort.

While we can measure our progress in a number of ways, how well we love and serve others, especially those in greatest need, is one of the finest ways to gauge how Christ-like we have become.

Thankfully, we are not left to our own devices in this work of conversion. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is both the Source and the Summit of our faith. The Lord Himself gave us the Eucharist so that we might join our hearts, our joys, and our sufferings…even the betrayals we endure…to His.

In this way, we give meaning and value to the challenges we face in this world, and at the same time are given the strength and courage we need to sustain us in our efforts to be more holy.

When we do as Jesus commanded on Holy Thursday…and break the Bread and share the Cup in memory of Him, our appetite for the eternal banquet is awakened. We are given the slightest glimpse of what those who have gone before us…those who embraced the challenge of lifelong conversion…are now experiencing…THE GLORY OF GOD!

We become excited about the possibility of joining them.

And so here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Do you love Christ? IF SO…

Continue to nourish yourself with the Eucharist…and your love will deepen and increase…and bear great fruit.

Do you love Christ? IF SO…

Love and serve others…especially those in greatest need.

Do you love Christ? IF SO…

Keep moving towards the glory through the process of conversion.

Do all of this in memory of Him Who died so that we might live in eternal Glory!