By Sr. Doreen, SSJD
Acts 10: 44-48 Psalm 98 1 John 5: 9-13 John 15: 9-17
The sixth Sunday of Easter – also on our Ordo called Rogation Sunday – and on the secular calendar Mothers Day. A celebration of a trinity of events! What is even more amazing than this combination is that all the propers for today I believe address each of these individual occasions with very clear messages for living as resurrection people in todays world!
This is the last stand alone Sunday in Easter before the Ascension – a time to rejoice with alleluia’s in the new life – the resurrected life – that God has gifted to us. I have always thought of this Sunday as a celebration highlight of Easter – the Sunday when we celebrate the riches beyond our imagination that God has prepared for us, promises that exceed all that we can desire! Next Sunday, the 7th of Easter, is what I call an in-between Sunday: wedged between the Ascension and Pentecost, and it ushers in a whole new phase of our spiritual journey.
All of the readings echo the psalm we sung today: (Common Praise #312) In a real sense today is like the refrain: this is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it – and it’s a Sunday that insists that it be sung with a passion for victory – God’s victory of salvation for all people and all of creation. This Sunday is also like an invitation to God, a welcome for God’s presence amongst us and an opportunity for offering God the time and the space to be amongst us. A time to ponder what reframing I continue – we continue – the world continues, to need, in order to live into being a resurrection people, a resurrected world: the intentional and disciplined choices for mercy, compassion and justice I need to make for God to fill my soul with song – to fill the world with song.
We have had – and are having – such a wonderful leisurely spring this year. It has made the trees blossom in a magnificent way – full bloom and lasting. The tulips and the daffodils in abundance, a seemingly endless abundance – they keep coming, standing straight and brilliant in a rainbow of colours. Everywhere is lush and green! The New Life of Easter – the beginnings of the seeding time when we ask for the blessing of the fields . Rogation Sunday.
And today is also a celebration of motherhood – as we remember with thanks our own mothers and those mother figures that helped to shape and support our own lives. And as you all know and have heard me say many times, we are all called to be mothers: mothers of God – Theotokus – to birth God into our world. It’s a celebration of motherhood as a source of joy, a great responsibility, a spiritual effort, and a life-long journey, a cause to say thank you to each other for that gift that we give to each other, and for the privilege given us to enable God’s birth in our community, our families and in our world.
So with all these Trinity of occasions what do the propers say to us today?
The first lesson from Acts sets the stage for a very important Easter message for us: the Holy Spirit came down on everyone, this ushers in a whole new understanding of the Resurrection message to the world. Who are the chosen people? In God’s eyes everyone and everything that God has made is the chosen race, God’s own people. God does indeed hold the whole world in God’s hand – this is the new song of the resurrection. God shows no favourites – the Holy Spirit was given to everyone, salvation is offered to the whole world.
The Psalm for today is a wonderful celebration of the call to sing a new song – a brand-new song to God for God has made a world of wonders! We have sung Hymn 312 in place of the Psalm today, and I want to read Psalm 98 from the Message translation :
Sing to God a brand-new song, God’s made a world of wonders!
With sleeves rolled up, God set things right.
God made history with salvation, and showed the world just what God could do.
God remembered to love us, a bonus to the dear family, Israel – indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention, look – God’s work of salvation!
Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
Round up an orchestra to play for God; add on a hundred-voice choir.
Feature trumpets and big trombones, fill the air with praises to God.
Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause, with everything living on earth joining in.
Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!” and mountains harmonize the finale –
A tribute to God when God comes to set the earth right.
God will straighten out the whole world, put the world right, and everyone in it.
There is only one response today – the Lord has risen, the Lord has risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Salvation for everyone – a tribute to God who working through us will put the world right and everyone in it. This is the Finale of celebration: bring out the orchestra, the choir, the applause, and let us all call our ‘encore’.
The Epistle emphasizes just what a marvellous gift we have been given: life – in all its fullness. Ours for the taking from the gift-giving and loving God. And as gift – it is for sharing, and for making life in all its fullness available for everyone in whatever way we can.
The Gospel gives us a clear message and challenge of how we are to live in the midst of all of this: that we are to make ourselves at home in God’s love, that we are to love one another, and that we are to bear fruit in and for the world that doesn’t spoil – by giving God, by birthing God into and for the life of the world. This is an awesome and daunting task – in fact more simply put – this is and is going to be hard work! But as the psalm said: God loves us with an indefatigable love, is at home with us, and is our constant companion on the journey. And so we can give a round of applause, fill the air with praises, call our ‘encore’ and begin to harmonize the finale with gratitude and joy. And we can roll up our sleeves, and holding God’s hand, get to work.
For those who love God there is prepared riches beyond imagination and promises which exceed all the we can desire. And from now on, every day, is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Alleluia! Alleluia!