Sixth Sunday of Easter (C)
May 22, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Rite of Sprinkling





Grant, almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy,
which we keep in honor of the risen Lord,
and that what we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Acts 15:1-2,22-29

Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers,
"Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice,
you cannot be saved."
Because there arose no little dissension and debate
by Paul and Barnabas with them,
it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others
should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders
about this question.

The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:

"The apostles and the elders, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
'It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right.  Farewell.'"

Responsorial Psalm 67:2-3,5,6,8

R/. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!

Second Reading Rev 21:10-14,22-23

The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,

with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

I saw no temple in the city
for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb.
The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gave it light,
and its lamp was the Lamb.

Alleluia Jn 14:23

Gospel Jn 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe."

Reflection Questions

What do you think are “the necessities” for church membership today?

Where do you glimpse the new Jerusalem?

What makes your troubled or afraid?

Catena Nova

The city which John says is squared, he says also is resplendent with gold and precious stones, and has a sacred street, and a river through the midst of it, and the tree of life on either side, bearing twelve manner of fruits throughout the twelve months; and that the light of the sun is not there, because the Lamb is the light of it; and that its gates were of single pearls; and that there were three gates on each of the four sides, and that they could not be shut. I say, in respect of the square city, he shows forth the united multitude of the saints, in whom the faith could by no means waver.... Moreover, the streets set forth their hearts purified from all uncleanness, transparent with glowing light, that the Lord may justly walk up and down in them. The river of life sets forth that the grace of spiritual doctrine flowed through the minds of the faithful, and that manifold flourishing forms of odours germinated therein. The tree of life on either bank sets forth the Advent of Christ, according to the flesh, who satisfied the peoples wasted with famine, that received life from One by the wood of the Cross, with the announcement of God's word. And in that he says that the sun is not necessary in the city, he shows, evidently, that the Creator as the immaculate light shines in the midst of it, whose brightness no mind has been able to conceive, nor tongue to tell. In that he says there are three gates placed on each of the four sides, of single pearls, I think that these are the four virtues, to wit, prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance, which are associated with one another. (Victorinus of Pettau)

What an honour it is to be ever in at­tendance in sight of the Creator; to contemplate the spectacle of truth present before you; to behold God face to face, associated with angelic choirs. There those involved are so filled with attendant joys that they are never concerned about future hardships. There, while the soul enjoys to the full the quiet pleasure of unlimited light, it is unspeakably happy over the rewards of its companions. There the thirsty drink fromthe fount of life, and as they drink, they thirst for more. There, indeed, it is impossible for either desire to beget lust or for gratification to turn into loathing. Here one discovers the eternal greening of the bloom of youth, the charm of beauty, and the unceasing vigour of good health. In effect, from this eternal source they acquire the power to live forever and to rejoice ineffably and, what is far more important, to grow into the like­ness of the Creator himself.... In fact, as the body becomes spiritual, it will be in harmony with the soul, and the whole man will in no way disagree with the will of its Creator. All that the Creator has made will remain,while whatever the devil has added will be taken away. There each one’s secrets will be laid bare before the eyes of all. There, with all hearts united by the bond of mutual love, none will differ from another in any way, but all will associate unanimously in a common exercise of will.... In heaven there is an absence of ignorance and of im­possibility, because, by their union with wisdom, the blessed know all things and are able to do all things. There we will be face to face with things revealed: how the Father ineffably begets the Son, and how the Holy Spirit proceeds from both of them.... Certainly, the reality of the ever­lasting happiness of the heavenly Jerusalem is incomparably greater than the mind of man can ever conceive, and the mind grasps more than can ever be put in words. (St. Peter Damian)

I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne saying: “Behold the dwelling of God is with the human race. He will dwell among them.”  But why? In order to win a bride for himself from among humanity.... But the bride – in what form or exterior loveliness, in what guise did St John see her coming down? Was it perhaps in the company of the angels whom he saw ascending and descending upon the Son of Man? It is more accurate to say that he saw the bride when he looked on the Word made flesh, and acknowledged two natures in the one flesh.For when that holy Emmanuel introduced to earth the curriculum of heavenly teaching, when we came to know the visible image and radiant come­liness of that supernal Jerusalem, our mother, revealed to us in Christ and by his means, what did we behold if not the bride in the Bridegroom? He who descended is also he who ascended, since no one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven. The one and same Lord who as head of the Church is the Bridegroom, as body is also the Bride. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

After Christ had completed his mission on earth, it still remained necessary for us to become sharers in the divine nature of the Word. We had to give up our own life and be so transformed that we would begin to live an entirely new kind of life that would be pleasing to God. This was something we could do only by sharing in the Holy Spirit....When the time came for Christ to ascend to his heavenly Father, it was necessary for him to be united through his Spirit to those who worshipped him, and to dwell in our hearts through faith. (St. Cyril of Alexandria).

When the Paraclete comes, Jesus says, he will bear witness to me, he will reveal the meaning of my innocent death and of every innocent death, from the beginning to the end of the world. Those who come after Christ will therefore bear witness as he did, less by their words or beliefs than by becoming martyrs and dying as Jesus died. Most assuredly, this concerns not only the early Christians persecuted by the Jews or by the Romans but also the Jews who were later persecuted by the Christians and all victims persecuted by executioners. To what does it really bear witness? In my thinking it always relates to the collective persecution that gives birth to religious illusions. (Rene Girard)

The Parakletos who will come will be sent in Jesus’ name (Jn 14:7). That is, he will bring into creative presence the person of Jesus through the loving imitation of his disciples. It is not that the Holy Spirit is simply a substitute presence, acting instead of Jesus, but rather it is by Jesus going to his death (and, by giving up his Spirit bringing to completion his creative work — “It is accomplished,” tetelestai — 19:30) that all Jesus’ creative activity will be made alive in the creative activity of his disciples. The memory of Jesus here (“he will bring to your remembrance”) is thus not in the first place the cure for the absence of the teacher, but the bringing to mind, and thus to the possibility of creative practice, in dependence on Jesus, of Jesus’ creative activity. This is the sense of the peace which Jesus leaves with his disciples: not the peace which is the result of the suppression of conflict, or the resolution of conflict, such as is practiced by the mechanism of expulsion of the world, but the creative peace that brings into being: the primordial peace of the Creator from the beginning. (James Alison)

In the Gospel we heard a passage from the farewell discourses of Jesus, as related by the evangelist John in the context of the Last Supper. Jesus entrusts his last thoughts, as a spiritual testament, to the apostles before he leaves them. Today’s text makes it clear that Christian faith is completely centred on the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves the Lord Jesus welcomes him and his Father interiorly, and thanks to the Holy Spirit receives the Gospel in his or her heart and life. Here we are shown the centre from which everything must go forth and to which everything must lead: loving God and being Christ’s disciples by living the Gospel. (Pope Francis)


Tension Headaches

             Do you hear the tension in these words?  The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you (G)?  It’s the tension between past and future; the tension between what we have already learned from Jesus and what the Spirit has yet to teach us.  Let’s call it the tension between memory and prophecy.

             For one of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to teach us everything, both those things we don’t yet understand -- but will in the future -- as well as those things the things we’ve inherited from the past.  It’s as though the church had a hard drive that could hold an infinite amount of data, as well as an infinite supply of RAM!  Those of you who run computers know you can never have enough gigabytes of storage for future input or megabytes of memory. So the Spirit is always at work filling us to capacity with new data, yet making sure we have enough memory to remain stable.

            So one of the first questions faced by new students of theology is whether God’s revelation is closed, once and for all, or if it is ongoing?  The answer to which is, “Yes and no.”  For on the one hand, Jesus is God’s final revelation to the human race -- period.  On the other hand, this revelation continues to unfold from God’s fullness -- comma.

           Hence we want to avoid the “liberal” tendency with that question, which is to focus one-sidedly on the comma -- prophecy over memory, the future over the past – on what the Spirit will teach us.  Sometimes, a liberal desire to be “open” and “progressive” makes it less-and-less apparent why one needs to keep [Jesus’] word above all other words.  I read an article this past week at a Catholic website by an Episcopalian entitled, Baptismal Ecclesiology Without Baptism in which the author bemoans a growing tendency in that denomination to disconnect baptism as a prior requirement for receiving the Eucharist – all out of a concern to be more “hospitable” and “inclusive” (Lizette Lardon; Pray Tell; May 12, 2022).  Which reminded me of what an Anglican theologian I know once remarked, “What you end up with in liberal religion is the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The cat keeps disappearing, bit by bit, until nothing is left but the smile.”  That’s a failure of memory.

            But on the other hand, we don’t want to get stuck in the “conservative” problem with the question, “Is revelation closed, or is it ongoing?” There the focus is on the period rather than the comma -- memory over prophecy, the past over the future -- what the Spirit reminds us of in all that Jesus has said to us.  Sometimes, a conservative desire to be faithful to tradition makes the church look like a museum where everything is about preservation, whether of doctrine, or morality, or liturgy.  Pope Francis recently warned once again about liturgical traditionalism, saying “The temptation of liturgical formalism: to focus on forms, formalities rather than reality, as we see today in those movements that try to go backwards and deny the Second Vatican Council. Then the celebration is recitation, it is something without life, without joy.... Indeed, those with closed mindsets use liturgical patterns to defend their own point of view....this is the drama we are experiencing in ecclesial groups that are distancing themselves from the church, questioning the council [and] the authority of the bishops [even as they claim] to preserve tradition” (May 7, 2022).

            In a similar vein, speaking to a conference of moral theologians this week on the need to avoid excessive legalism in church teaching, the pope said, “There is a difference between wanting to go back in time and drawing inspiration from one's roots in order to move forward with Christ....But to go in reverse is to go back in order to have a form of defense, a safety measure that saves us from the risk of going forward, the Christian risk of carrying the faith, the Christian risk of journeying with Jesus Christ” (May 13, 2022)

            All of which makes me wonder: “Was Jesus kidding when, a little further in John, he said, I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth  (Jn. 16:12-13)?  In other words, is there nothing new the Spirit would teach us -- so new it might seem like an experimental curriculum?

           That’s exactly what happened at the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts, when the apostles and the elders gathered to discuss the question of Gentiles keeping the Law of Moses.  The partisans of tradition were quite sure, “Unless they were circumcised according to the custom of Moses, they could not be saved.”  And there was plenty in the Bible to support their view.  Yet, the innovators won the day, “for it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to them to impose on the Gentiles no further burden than a few essentials.”  See, the Spirit led them into more truth.  Prophecy did not fail.  But the controversy was bitter: no small dissension and debate, as Luke puts it, mildly, no doubt (cf. I).

            And so it goes down to our own day as the Spirit helps us bear new teaching on social justice, interreligious dialogue, the morality of capital punishment, and the roles of women and laity in the church.  These things have developed in our own time, while we continue to preserve traditions that help us stay connected to our past.  And let’s face it, some of us prefer the “old school” and others the “new.” For as Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, once wrote in an opera,  “Every boy and every girl born into the world alive is either a little liberal or else a little conservative.”

            But whatever our natural disposition may be, we can expand our partial views, to see how Jesus Christ is both the “same, yesterday, today, and forever” (So remember!) as well as the One who “makes all things new” (So look to the future!).  If we don’t do both, we’ll stop speaking and listening to each other, using the common language of faith, by which we understand each other, despite our different dialects and accents. And we’ll return to the days of Babel: the Church catholic born on Pentecost in ruins.

           So don’t get a tension headache. After all, the new Jerusalem hasn’t come down out of heaven from God yet.  That’s in the future -- when walls from the north and the south, the east and the west, will rise, and the glory of God will be [our] light, and [our] lamp will be the Lamb (cf. II).  Who live and reign in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.


Intercessions (Msgr. Joseph Masiello)

That all who hold leadership roles in the Church, especially Pope Francis and his brother bishops, may follow the wise example of consultation and pastoral care set by the early Church.

That, upon all who work for unity among the nations and justice for the hurting, the Holy Spirit may bestow that peace and that wisdom which the world cannot give. 

That Easter’s peace may soon come to the so many war-weary people of Ukraine and indeed of our world, and our service men and women in harm’s way.

That the citizens of these United States may learn how to express our differences always with malice towards none and charity for all.

That those whose hearts are troubled and afraid may find comfort in the peace the Risen One promises and in the disciples’ compassionate love for them.

That the seriously ill in our community and among our family members and friends may be gifted with the comfort of caregivers and the healing touch of our God.

That those who mourn may have every tear wiped from their eyes by Easter’s promise of life; and all our beloved dead rejoice in the holy city whose light is God’s glory and whose lamp is the Lamb.

Great and loving Father,
your will for us in Jesus
is the peace the world cannot give;
your abiding gift
is the Advocate he promised.
Calm all troubled hearts,
dispel every fear.
Keep us steadfast in love
and faithful to your word,
that we may always be your dwelling place.
Grant this through Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead,
who lives and reigns with you now and always
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Motet  (Jn 14:27)


Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:

not as the world giveth, give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn


Blessed city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above,
and, with angel hosts encircled,
as a bride dost earthward move;

from celestial realms descending,
bridal glory round thee shed,
meet for him whose love espoused thee,
to thy Lord shalt thou be led;
all thy streets and all thy bulwarks
of pure gold are fashioned.

Bright thy gates of pearl are shining;
they are open evermore;
and by virtue of his merits
thither faithful souls do soar,
who for Christ's dear Name in this world
pain and tribulation bore.

Many a blow and biting sculpture
polished well those stones elect,
in their places now compacted
by the heavenly Architect,
who therewith hath willed for ever
that his palace should be decked.

Laud and honor to the Father,
laud and honor to the Son,
laud and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three, and ever One,
consubstantial, coeternal,
while unending ages run.