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Youth Ministry Resources - 5th Sunday of Easter

Year A: John 14:1-12 - Farewell discourse - 5th Sunday of Easter

Jesus is preparing his disciples for when he has left them to be with the Father, his words are comforting and encouraging. The fear and uncertainty of the disciples is palpable - what will they do without Jesus? Will they be persecuted? Will they be killed as Jesus was? Have they backed the wrong leader? Should they just return to the Synagogue and put all this behind them? Who will guide them? Confusion reigns and Jesus explains repeatedly that God will look after them - do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me.

Jesus reassures the disciples that there is a place prepared for them with the Father and one of the most loved I AM statements is used here - I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus is not just their guide to salvation, he is the source of life and truth. Jesus speaks frequently of the unity between God the Father and himself to reinforce the strength of what he has been teaching them. The disciples have seen the glory of God through the words and actions of Jesus and now they are to continue this work of Jesus and God the Father on earth, while Jesus goes to the Father to prepare eternal life for them.

This reading is frequently chosen for funerals because of the reassurance offered in the words of Jesus. Through our Baptism, we have died with Christ and so we will rise with Christ into eternal life. That is why we place the white pall on the coffin as a reminder of the strength of our Baptism and of God's promise that God's children will live in God's house forever more. As much as the disciples feared the loss of Jesus it was only when Jesus left that they grew in understanding that Jesus was continuing to live in each person. Just as there are many dwelling places in heaven, Jesus has as many dwelling places here on earth with each Baptised person.

As we are the dwelling place of God, then everything we do is meant to reflect that reality. When we are bad tempered we cannot be a source of God's love and joy. When we are selfish then God can't be seen because our myopia is all encompassing. When we criticise others then we have put ourselves above God who knows and loves justice. When we insist on the letter of the Law and forget God's Spirit, then we become Pharisees and have diminished God's intention to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. So do not let your hearts be troubled, go in peace to love and serve the world.

Cate Mapstone

Year C: 5th Sunday of Easter

Today's Gospel reading is taken from the dialogue at the Last Supper. It is interesting that the first sentence, about Judas, is retained when the rest of the dialogue is about Jesus' glory and commandment to his followers. It is worth contemplating upon its inclusion and may be a handy reminder for us about the choices we make. Do we betray Jesus by our sin or do we choose to follow the command of Jesus to "love one another." The departure of Judas also acts as the trigger for the events of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus prepares the apostles by speaking to them about his glory entwined with that of God "the Father and I are one." Jesus' passion and death are always tied into his glorification. The cross remains a frightful scandal and obstacle if Jesus is not recognised as the Son of God. John's gospel clearly states from the outset "in the beginning was the Word…" Also from John's gospel we hear of the signs that Jesus performed to show he was the Son of God.

Jesus now tells the apostles what their "sign" will be, so that "everyone will know you are my disciples." Jesus calls the apostles "little children," there is such tenderness in that term, his love for them is very evident. How will the apostles manage without his physical presence? Jesus commands them "love one another; just as I have loved you." This is a pretty big 'ask.' Jesus has set the highest standard of love through his self-offering and yet he insists that "love, as I have loved you," be the foundation for behaviour for believers and disciples. We are called to be that "sign" of God's love, right here and now, where we live, work and worship. That love cannot be selective because "even sinners love their friends…" We are asked to "love one another" and I wonder how our "love" is measuring up these days. Do the people we encounter recognise God's love in us through the way we talk to them, by the decisions we make, by the way we value them, by the things we do? Jesus is commanding us to take on a new kind of order in our lives and that command includes unconditional love. Yes, that is not easy but how else can the Reign of God come into this part of the world.

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 5th Sunday of Easter
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Youth Ministry Resources 5th Sunday of Easter