Fifth Sunday of Easter - Mother's Day
Today’s gospel takes us back to the Upper Room and the Last Supper Discourse, when Jesus speaks to the Twelve more directly than we have yet seen.
His hour has almost arrived; the time for parables is over.
He has told the apostles that one of them will betray him. They are deeply disturbed. He unsettles them twice with these words: “Where I am going, you cannot come.”
Now, he seeks to comfort them.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." Jesus does not want his experience of betrayal, denial, and departure to rob his friends of their peace. He is going to leave them, but he tells them he is going to prepare a place for them so that he can return and take them with him. These words certainly brought the Twelve comfort. Then came the twist:
“Where I am going you know the way.”
The apostles were completely lost. Thomas speaks for them: “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Imagine how difficult it must have been for these men who understood that trouble was approaching.
They were looking for details, a destination, and a plan to get there.
Jesus' answer is equally mysterious: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And he continues, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” The home Jesus would prepare for his followers was a dwelling place with God, and the “way” to that dwelling place was being revealed by Jesus himself: his words, signs, wonders, and especially his death and resurrection would make it clear that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
To live and to die in Christ is the way home.
Philip makes it clear that all this fell on deaf ears: “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus responds pointedly, patiently: “Have I been with you so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?” The apostles had not yet fully grasped Jesus’ relationship with the Father. It would take the resurrection, ascension, and descent of the Holy Spirit before they could understand his words.
Nevertheless, Jesus makes an astonishing promise to them:
“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these because I go to the Father.”
We can feel the human weakness of the apostles. Yet because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, it is he who guarantees the future of his church.
Can it really be that, through his followers, the Lord Jesus will do even greater works than he did while he was on earth?
The Second Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, describes an event that could have caused a damaging split in the apostolic Church. The “Hellenists” (Greek-speaking, Jewish widows who had previously lived in various parts of the Roman empire) felt slighted in the distribution of food, in favor of the “Hebrews” (Aramaic-speaking Jews native to Palestine). Remember that widows were dependent on others. The Twelve respond with wisdom, compassion, and clarity of mission. (Are these not also the traits we first saw in Jesus?) In these few verses, we can see men who are very different from the confused and uncertain apostles in the gospel.
Jesus accomplished his work of redemption, and these men are showing its fruit. Their first concern is “prayer and the ministry of the word,” the same priorities of the Master when he was among them. However, they recognized their responsibility as leaders and shepherds of the church. They confidently directed the election of the first deacons, like our Deacon Vincent, and, with this rift laid to rest, “the word of God continued to spread,’ greatly increasing the number of disciples.
When we recognize this expansion of the church in Jerusalem, we start to understand what Jesus meant by his promise of “greater works” to the apostles. His own ministry was limited in time and space. The global spread of the Gospel was going to happen through his followers. This is the wonder of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
Fr. Anthony Schueller, SSS, Pastor
Fr. Joseph Thai Tran, SSS, Parochial Vicar
Deacon Vincent Scheel, Deacon
Happy Mother's Day
to all mothers, grandmothers, and godmothers! May Mary, the Mother of the Lord and our mother, intercede for all women!
no public Masses
at St. Joseph Downtown as we continue to live and pray in a way that keeps each other safe and healthy. Call the Parish Office (210 227-0126) to reserve a place at Mass when offered. Only ten people may attend, and social distancing is observed.
video of Sunday Mass at St. Joseph
is posted on YouTube at the St. Joseph Church Downtown Media page starting this weekend. We thank the Strelchun Family and tech-savvy John Francis for filming and editing the video so beautifully. Go to
Reconciliation (Confession) is available
Monday through Saturday from 9:00-2:00 in the Parish Office, 623 East Commerce Street. Please ring the doorbell; we will be with you shortly.
In a spirit of caring for each other in these difficult days,
we encourage you to support efforts to feed our neighbors in need via Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and local food banks.
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Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these because I go to the Father.
Anthony Schueller SSS
on Sunday, May 10 at 2:07PM