Fifth Sunday of Easter (c)

In today’s second reading we just heard about the New Jerusalem, a concept sometimes confusing or hard to understand. The New Jerusalem is not on the moon waiting to come down upon the earth or a Texas small town, the New Jerusalem is the place where God makes his home among mankind, so the New Jerusalem, is right here: is the Church[1].
Now by Church I don’t mean the buildings and institutions of Rome. Nor am I referring to our splendid Church buildings in this country, the most beautiful, of course, is St. Vincent de Paul. By Church I mean the People of God, united with Jesus Christ and empowered by His Holy Spirit.
The Church is the People of God. Human hearts that have been written upon by the Spirit of the living God have become the means of communication from Christ to other people. The starting point of an understanding of Jesus is faith, faith as it is actually believed, lived, proclaimed and practiced in the Christian Churches[2]. We priests experience many meeting with Christ present in his people. We are humbled by these meeting. There are people in this parish who have become fervent members of the faith because they have experienced Christ in other members of this parish. Jesus Christ became one of us so that all of us may see, hear, touch and be fully exposed to God’s love among us. His Spirit unites his people into a single family, the Family of God, the Church.
Our salvation, our relationship to God, comes through Jesus Christ. He is the Divine Mediator, the one who has re-established our union with God. This is the gift of Easter.
There is no way of being united to God outside of the Church because Jesus only exists united to his family, the People of God, the Church. There is no salvation apart of Jesus Christ.
God works his salvation for all people, but always through the union of Jesus Christ with his people. This is the Church, God’s way of being related to the world, and we Catholics need to come to a deeper understanding of the extent of God’s revelation to us. We are at the heart of his revelation. We are called to share in his seven special presences that are the sacraments. People are incorrect if they say, “It does not matter whether you are a member of one faith or another as long as you live this faith.” This is only true to the extent that it reflects God’s particular revelation of his word to the individual. No one can move from a tradition with a greater sharing in the truth to one with a lesser sharing in the truth. A Christian cannot be justified in becoming Jewish, because this means rejecting Jesus as Lord. The Catholic cannot justifiably turn away from the truths that are the seven sacraments, because this means rejecting the real presence of Christ in, for example, the Eucharist or in Penance, or the Sacrament of Matrimony.
We, the members of the New Jerusalem, have the deepest of responsibilities in the world. We must render Christ present for others in the way we love them and in the way we love each other. Charity, love, is not just something that we do. Love, loving the way Christ loved, sacrificial love, is how we express the essence of our being as Christians. The world needs witness of this love. The world needs Christ, and He can be found only in the New Jerusalem, among the People of God ■

[1] Fifth Sunday of Easter. Readings: Acts 11:1-18  •  Psalm 148  •  Revelation 21:1-6  •  John 13:31-35
[2] Walter Kasper, Christian theologian, writes that faith in Jesus Christ arises from encounters with believing Christians. Kasper was named Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany's fourth largest Catholic diocese, on 17 April 1989. He was consecrated on 17 June that same year by Archbishop Oskar Saier of Freiburg im Breisgau; Bishops Karl Lehmann and Franz Kuhnle served as co-consecrators. In 1993 he and other members of the German episcopate signed a pastoral letter allowing divorced and civilly remarried German Catholics to return to the sacraments, to the disapproval of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. In 1994, he was named co-chair of the International Commission for Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris