Engaging the Gospel – Fifth Sunday of Easter

Fifth Sunday of Easter: Gospel – John 14:1-12

Jesus goes to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house

Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that “the Father’s house is our homeland” (Catechism paragraph 2795).

Because we are “created in God’s image and called to know and love Him” (31), we can only be completely happy and fulfilled by God Himself, a state of being that we will enjoy perfectly in heaven (1024).

Yet we cannot get there by ourselves, for “sin has exiled us” (2795). “Left to its own natural powers, humanity does not have access to the Father’s house, to God’s life and happiness. Only Christ can open” the way for us (661).

But how can we spend eternity with God, unless we begin by spending time with Him here on earth? Recitation of prayers, and meditation on the Scriptures or devotional works, are important, “but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with Him” (2708).

“One can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state” – we need only to “recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit… abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are [and] enter into the presence of Him who awaits us” (2710-11).

St. Teresa of Avila (d. 1582), a Doctor of the Church renowned especially as a teacher of prayer, offered a beautifully simple definition: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him Who we know loves us” (quoted in 2709).

Question for reflection: What am I doing now to prepare for eternal life with God?

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