Homily on the Fifth Sunday of Easter

We are in the Fifth Sunday of Easter. In three weeks we will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday. It is during this Easter season that the Church, contemplating the Risen Christ, grows in the knowledge of her Redeemer. Christ has promised his Church the permanent assistance of the Holy Spirit. It is thanks to this Spirit that we can hear and understand the Gospel proclaimed today.

St. John the Evangelist places us in the context of the Last Supper, in the Upper Room, where Jesus is having the last, intimate and most extensive conversation with his apostles. «Do not lose your peace» or as other translations say, «let not your hearts be troubled». Just before beginning the final outcome  of his earthly life, the Master wants to give confidence to his apostles.

Jesus is breaking the veil that for so many centuries and millennia had kept hidden the intimacy of God himself. The eternal Son of the Father, ready to give the final impulse to the work of Redemption, reveals to the disciples that there is no need to fear. The cross that is coming and that must be embraced for the salvation of the human race is in God’s plan. Everything is calculated and foreseen by the perfect Providence of the Most Holy Trinity.

Jesus has done nothing more in all his public ministry than to show the way to the Father. His eternal plan, his Kingdom, and intimacy with him have always been the driving passion of Christ in the midst of mankind. Jesus is in the Gospel of John the Revealer of the Father, his True Face, his last and definitive Word.

From the chapte13 to 17 Jesus is having this «mystagogic» conversation with his closest friends. He has not stopped talking about Love. Love is the summary of the Law, the essence of God himself, the method of Christian action. In short, love is divinity itself, because God is love. That’s why when Jesus says goodbye, tells them «you already know the Way». Yes, my brothers and sisters, the only way is love.

Thomas and Philip the Apostles appear with their interventions, to take out of the Master’s mouth two answers that have remained as pillars of what today we call Christology: (1) the absolute necessity of Jesus Christ for the Salvation of the World and (2) the essential equality of the Father and the Son.

In Thomas are represented all those who, following a religion of «doing good», lose focus of the essential.

Something we must remember at this point is that, if all religions try to seek God and create a series of methods and rituals to obtain the favor of the divinity; in the Christian faith the opposite is true. It is not that man has to create a path or make many sacrifices to reach heaven, but that God himself, in person, takes the initiative and descends to man. He does not want to come down from heaven in a cloud, but allows himself to be gestated for nine months in the womb of a woman. And he does all this in order to speak to us in our own language.

It is not that God has given us a method, no. It is that God has made himself the Way to be walked. He has wanted to remove the veil of his mystery, so that we can see him “face to face” in the face of his Son.

This is why Christianity, more than a truth to be studied in order to understand, is a truth to be contemplated on our knees and adored in faith.

In spite of all the paths and alternatives that today’s world presents us with, in spite of all the apparent truths that emerge today in parallel and in spite of all the models and ways of living, sometimes a bit distorted, with which we are bombarded by all the media: there is only one Way, one Truth and one Life, and His name is Jesus Christ.

Philip’s petition contains the longing of all human hearts for the infinite and for meaning: «Lord, show us the Father and that is enough for us. St. Augustine said that the human heart remains restless until it rests in God. Well, this restless heart that seeks God or that seeks the truth is on the way to Salvation. It happens that many times we look outside for what happens to be inside, or that we go to distant places looking for something, or better, looking for Someone who is so close…. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.

Listen Philip or whatever your name is (for many of us are also like Philip), I have been with you so long, and you still do not know me? Whoever sees me sees the Father, so why do you say, ‘Show us the Father,’ or do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

I have come to break the silence of the ages and to remove the veil that hides the mystery of God.

I have come to open your eyes to the face of my Father.

I have come to give you back your life and for you to live it to the full.

I have come so that you will no longer be afraid or hold distrust at every step.

I have come to forgive all your sins, the great and the small, and to give you back your peace.

I have come to open the doors of the Banquet and immerse you in the Trinitarian intimacy and joy.

I have come to give you the freedom and peace that the world cannot give you.

I would like to end my homily by reminding you of what I said at the beginning. And I paraphrase it in another way: no one can be saved except through Jesus Christ. In him we have access to intimacy with the Father and through him we participate in the divine nature. He has embraced all humanity so that we can all be inserted into the divine embrace of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It is up to us to concretize these beautiful truths in our daily actions.

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