Eastertide Gospels

From April 30 (Second Sunday of Easter)to, but excluding Pentecost Sunday, the Gospel readings of the Eucharist this year are all, but one (Luke c. 24), taken from John’s Gospel. Given this attention to John in our Eastertide celebrations, it might be of service to consider the principle by which John chooses all stories and speeches for his Gospel and which underlies all their teachings. This principle is found at the very end of the original Gospel, in Ch. 20, vv. 30 and 31. Here in substance is what the author writes: I have chose these signs in order that you may continue to believe that Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God and, so believing, you may have enternal life. The subjects of the Eastertide stories are: 1. Jesus, risen, appears in the Upper Room, to give the Spirit to his disciples, to show them his wounds, to commission to forgiven sins, and finally to have Thomas confess: My Lord and My God. 2. I am the Gate for the sheep; i.e. through me Christians, those recognize my voice, will reach their longed-for happiness; indeed, I give my life for the good of my sheep. 3. Jesus, ascended, prepares our places in Heaven; to reach them one follows the way of Jesus, which is the true way, a way that leads to life. Christians should know that in seeing Jesus, they have seen the Father: I am in the Father and the Father is in me. 4. Jesus promises to make up for his absence by sending another Paraclete; i.e. Jesus was one Paraclete, now there will be another, the Holy Spirit. The word ’paraclete’ has means many things to us. It means consoler, encourager, defender. Such was Jesus, and such will be the Spirit. Given the Sunday Gospel readings of Eastertide, we do ourselves a great service in we look upon them as did John: they are a variety of stories and sayings all aimed at assuring us that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God, so that we might have a live that never ends. This principle (John 20, 31) is a great help to our search for the value of the Gospel readings chosen for our hearing and Easter joy. John Kilgallen, SJ
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