7th Sunday in Easter - Year A
REJOICE IN SHARING SUFFERING
Let's face it, there is nothing happy in pain. Most of us would rather spend our lives pain-free. But Saint Peter tells us to "rejoice" in it. Why? Jesus himself did not want pain, he was not a masochist. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that he would not have to go through it.
Jesus teaches us that eternal life comes from "knowing you the one true God." Intimacy with the divine Father and Son allows us to share their divine life. The best way to do this is through unselfish love of God and neighbor. Unfortunately most people are selfish. So the only other way to build a relationship with God and neighbor is by bonding in the common experience of pain. Have you ever said to someone, "I know what you're going through. I've been there myself!" Shared suffering is the only alternative to shared love.
I HAVE REVEALED YOUR NAME
People have had some bad ideas about God for thousands of years. Many see God as vengeful, threatening or angry. Many pagan images of God or the gods are ugly and even monstrous. A name reveals something about a person. In the Old Testament God was simply YAHWEH--I AM! In other words the Hebrew people only saw God as a powerful person who could be provoked to violent acts of destruction.
Jesus revealed God's name to be "Father". This doesn't necessarily mean that God is male, but that the good qualities of a human father are the same qualities in Jesus' divine parent. Jesus is teaching us not to be afraid of God. His image of God is of a loving, caring Father who sacrifices everything to make us happy. This was Jesus' main mission on earth. He did it well.
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