Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 17, 2020 – Year A
Readings: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 / Ps 66 / 1 Pt 3:15-18 / Jn 14:15-21
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday, we welcomed the youngest member of our Christian family here at Holy Name of Mary: Theodora Miriam, who is only a few months old, received the Sacrament of Baptism. During the ceremony, Theodora’s big sister and big brother, who are two- and four-year-olds, were so happy, with big smiles on their faces. It occurred to me that these children, with the help of God’s grace, will still be here in Holy Name of Mary long after I’m gone from this world. This gives me hope.
In today’s second reading, which is taken from the first letter of Peter, the apostle said, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” I pray that we are always ready, because we are not just a group of people who have faith, but we belong to the mystical body of Christ, the Church, who will never lose hope. The words of the Lord to His disciples which we have heard in the Gospel of John should give us the reason for our hope, especially during this pandemic. He said, “I will not leave you orphans;… you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in Me and I in you.”
Thirteen years ago, I had the privilege to be the chaplain of a group of pilgrims who went to Rome. Part of the pilgrimage was to visit the catacomb outside the city wall. A catacomb, simply said, is a cemetery underground. For those who know me, they are aware that I am not a fan of enclosed spaces. I also don’t like underground areas and a catacomb is both.
What gave me consolation, though, is that about half of the pilgrims were also hesitant to go in there. The tour guide, however, gave us the assurance that he could lead any of us to the closest exit at any time within three minutes, if the darkness of the place and lack of oxygen became unbearable at some point. His words gave us hope. But after a few minutes there, one of the pilgrims asked me to ask the guide to lead her out, because she could hardly breathe. But at that instant, we all saw a light from a distance which said exit. That light made us breathe a deep sigh of relief.
My dear brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus is our light. He is our hope. He will lead us out of the trials and darkness we find ourselves in. All we need to do is always put our faith and hope in Him.