7th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Psalm 97:1-2, 6-7, 9
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
May 8, 2016
We don’t talk often about the Book of Revelation but today’s passage contains words spoken by the Lord to John that have become symbolic of our faith. The Lord says to John, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
If you take a moment to look at our Paschal Candle behind the baptismal font, you will see the Greek Letters Alpha and Omega. Our prayers at the beginning of the Easter Vigil as we bless the fire and the Paschal Candle refer to the Alpha and Omega but what do these symbols mean to us? Why should we consider them important?
To understand this we must first know that “Alpha” and “Omega” are part of the Greek alphabet. In fact, Alpha is the first letter, the beginning, and Omega is the last letter, the end.
So, in identifying himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord is speaking about his eternal nature. The Lord was present at the beginning of time and will be at the end of time. Nothing else can claim this eternal status.
This in turn is meant to lead us to think about the Lord’s divine nature as the one who is all-knowing and all-powerful. The Lord is everywhere in every time. Thus we should listen to the Lord.
Stephen is an example of what it means to turn our lives over to the Lord. Stephen is named among the first deacons and then immediately begins to evangelize the people by sharing his experience of our Lord.
Of course, not everyone accepts what Stephen tells them about Jesus. They don’t want to hear it so, “they covered their ears.”
At the same time the other people were turning away from the Lord, Stephen was given his life totally to God and is granted a vision of seeing the heavens opened. Ultimately, Stephen is stoned to death but he remains steadfast in his faith, praying, as Jesus did, for those who kill him and hands his spirit over to the Lord.
Accepting martyrdom is not easy. We don’t want to be stoned but we do want to believe. Stephen believed in our Lord as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and that gave him the courage he needed to trust.
Can we trust in the Lord? Not just “can we”, do we? How much do we trust the Lord when challenges come in our own lives or when there is change coming like a new pastor?
Jesus is all about us. In today’s gospel we hear the completion of Jesus’ farewell discourse. Right after the passage, Jesus is arrested.
He knew He was about to be arrested. He could have been praying for himself. Yet, even though He knew his Passion was coming, He did not pray to God for himself. The prayer that we hear today from Jesus is for us.
Why? Because Jesus’ sees us as God’s gift to Him.
Jesus himself is already in perfect unity with the Father. He has everything. Jesus repeatedly speaks of the Father and Him as one. Jesus prays that we be one with Him and the Father.
Jesus knows He is about to be arrested, beaten, scourged, and crucified and his concern is for us.
Everything Jesus does is for us. The Lord creates for us. Jesus is born as a little baby for our sake. Jesus preaches and heals for our sake. Jesus is crucified for our sake.
Jesus is all about doing the Father’s Will and the Father’s Will is centered on loving us.
There are billions of different people in the world and that means there can be billions of different “wills” in the world. Each of us might want something a little different. If we all truly seek to do God’s Will, we will be working together.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, may we truly pray from the very depths of our heart and soul, thy will be done, so that we all be one just as the Father and Jesus the Son are one.