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May 21, 2017

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Let us continue listening to Chapter XIV of John’s Gospel. These are not simple passages to explain. They speak of a reality that appear to be far away and not easy to understand. We are at the Last Supper and Jesus, before leaving the disciples, reveals to them what is the heart of the life that awaits them after His Passover.

First of all, the life about which Jesus speaks, will be one life: the very life of the Father will be in Jesus, and that same life will be in us. Jesus has no doubt, and He clearly says, “I live and you will live… I am in the Father and you in Me and I in you” (Jn 14:19-20).

This is the true, first, and great good news that the Word gives us: death will not put an end to the good existence of Jesus, which the disciples could see by being with Him: “I live,” says the Lord. But something still greater will happen: “You will live”, that is, you will be alive with My life itself.

Perhaps, we have not yet correctly understood the greatness of this gift: sometimes we think that Jesus, at best, can make the life we ​​are already living a little more beautiful and dignified, that He can solve some problems, and grant us some grace.

This is not so: Jesus does much more and gives us a completely new life, a life that has passed through death and is now eternal: His life. So, two “lives” do not exist, God’s and ours. There is only the life of Christ, the life that is Christ (cf. last Sunday’s Gospel), a life that Jesus chooses to share with us: we are partakers of His life.

Jesus goes still further, and He also tells us how this life will be.

That is, He says, the world wherein life consists of solitude, distance and separation will end, and a world will begin wherein “the Consoler will be with us forever” (Jn 14:16). Then it will be a life of relationship and communion, like that which Jesus shares with the Father: a life of love between Persons.

The Spirit, Who unites the Father and the Son, will cause us to enter this love relationship.

And it will be a life where the relationship will not fail, where neither our sin, nor our death will be enough to stop it: we will always be welcomed back, and always consoled again.

The few verses of this Gospel do not only repeat the style of intimacy that characterizes our new life: He will be “with us, close to us, in us” (cf. Jn 14: 16,17, 20).

This will be the true new life.

It will not change the world, passing things will not change, but within them, in the depths, a new vital principle will be introduced, which will keep us deeply united to the life of God.

But when will this happen?

“Still a little” (Jn 14:19).

Jesus’ reference is evidently at the hour of His Passion, which is about to be fulfilled. Access to this new life, which we can finally see from within, will be the death and resurrection of Jesus.
There the old world will end, and from its ruins another one will be born.

We must pass from there if we will want to live: all that will not pass from this door will remain a prisoner of death, this side of life. But what will be baptized in the Passion of Christ, what will accept to live only by grace, this will belong to the Life of God and will belong to it from now on.

But who will see all this?

Certainly not the world: the eyes of the flesh are not enough. This life is so new, so different, that the world cannot see it: Jesus repeated twice that the world cannot see nor know this new life (Jn 14: 17,19).

And this is logical. The world recognizes what is its own, all that belongs to it. But it has no eyes to see what belongs to another creation, what belongs to the order of grace, of the Spirit.
The world has eyes to see that which it has done by itself, that which ends and dies. All that lives forever, rather, all that remains, all that is true, can only be seen with eyes born again by the Spirit.

There is an “ontological” journey to be made, a letting oneself be inserted into a new life: it is Baptism, and it is a life that constantly returns to its origins, to its own truth. A life that is born from above (Jn 3: 3).

Then the one who will dare to enter into the life of God, the one who will let himself be caught up in it will see it; more precisely, the one who loves and will keep His commandments: “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I also will love him and show myself to him” (Gv 14,21).

John, in short, tells us that the Paschal Mystery has made us a new creature, because it has intimately united us to the life of God. And this newness of life, this extraordinary love, becomes visible in the observance of the commandments, that is, in a life that shows the world the love that unites us with Christ.

The Evangelist invites us to look at life not with the eyes of the world, but with the eyes of those who have the life of God in themselves. Christian witness is everything here. Being capable of this new gaze, free and saved, on our life and the life of the world; always able to see the salvation that has touched the heart, being able to love. It is the testimony of so many Christians then and today.

+ Pierbattista

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