5th Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 14, 2017

Father Jim Donohue's picture

Father Jim Donohue

May 8, 2017

             The first of our eight principles of Resurrection spirituality proclaims that God loves us unconditionally.  Reflecting upon this principle, we recognize that God has taken the initiative with us, and loves us beyond our understanding and imagining.  This can be difficult for us to believe because we are often deeply shaped by our own experiences of not being loved, not being valued, and not being forgiven.  Or, similarly, God’s unconditional love for us can be difficult to believe because we find it hard to accept, to love, and to forgive others—thereby struggling to understand how God can do what we find so difficult to do ourselves.

            In the gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that they have known and seen the Father, but this prompts Phillip to request: “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  Jesus’ response is a telling one: “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father.”  In other words, we come to know the invisible God through Jesus, the God made visible.  He is, as the Letter to the Colossians says, “the image of the invisible God” (1:15).  When we see and know the forgiveness, the compassion, and the acceptance that Jesus has for all people, we see and know the forgiveness, the compassion, and the acceptance that God has for us. 

            Through our baptism, we were conformed to Christ—his image is imprinted deeply within us.  The Easter season reminds us that every time we die to tendencies that prevent us from accepting, loving, and forgiving others, we rise to new life with Christ, manifesting His presence into the world by our actions.  Indeed, Jesus assures us that those who profess such belief “will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.”