5th Sunday of Easter Year C
Apri 28, 2013


I start with a word puzzle. Mysterious. Cryptic. Self-contradictory … Love. Scars. New. Glory.

Something new and something old; something that hurts and something that scars; something that wounds, but something that renews, and leads to the ultimate newness – glory with God ever ancient, ever new!

This is the theme of today’s readings, 5th Sunday of Easter.

It’s an old story … if you change your life drastically, for the better that is, there will be haters and naysayers, doubters and cheerers, people who will drag you down, and people who will prop you up. This is what happened to Paul and Barnabas. Paul was an old hat at persecuting the Church. He was one difficult guy who made it even more difficult for the early followers of the Lord. But something new and something great happened to him. He was renewed and changed by a mystical experience.

The dynamic duo, Paul and Barnabas had something new to deliver. And how! “They proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples.”

That was something new and something great from one who earlier was a pain in the neck of the Christian believers!

But something even newer and greater is the topic of the second reading – the vision of a new heaven and new earth! But wait … What happened before this? Wasn’t John the Evangelist talking about the old issue of persecution, the fact that the 144,000 had to be washed by the blood of the Lamb? Is this something that was merited and earned by hard work and with blood, sweat, and tears?

Yes … even Rod Stewart says it … “Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds. And mars any heart.”

Just a little more than five weeks ago, we celebrated, we remembered, we relived the glorious saving Passion of the Lord. Wasn’t he wounded? Wasn’t he scarred? Wasn’t he marred by heartless unbelief and hatred from those who did not accept him?

Today is a Sunday not just of newness but also of glory – glory that shone through pain, hurts, scars, and wounds! This is the greatest story ever told – a story of Love, the same story that He now wants us to make our very own. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

I’d like to toss away modesty today. Yes … I admit … I, too, have suffered on account of love. I am no saint. I am no martyr. But I claim at least my desire to love God, and my feeble desire to do something good and beautiful for Him, too, in my own little way. I have been misunderstood. I have been condemned. I have been wounded, scarred, hurt.

But today, I’d like to tell you more. I grew on account of the scars. I was renewed on account of the pain, whether deserved or undeserved.

I hold on today to this promise of the Lord … “Behold, I make all things new.” I hold on, too, to his assurance: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”

The old order is now about to go away. But for this to happen, there is one thing we all need to do … “Love one another,” as Christ has loved us!

I can understand now a little more the mysterious puzzle … Do you get it too? LOVE. SCARS. NEW. GLORY.