Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

By the Rev Msgr Harry Entwistle
Ordinary

Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

The book of Revelation is one that fascinates people because they either cannot understand it, treat the imagery as though it is reality, or just think it is written by somebody who has been nibbling on magic mushrooms! It is actually a goldmine of spiritual truth.

In the early chapters of the book, heaven’s inhabitants are restricted to 144,000 male celibates while towards the end of the book from which today’s reading comes, heaven is declared to be open to all who embrace God’s truth and will.

God’s will is to make all things new, and in keeping with his imagery of the marriage between heaven and earth, John describes the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth as a bride adorned for her husband. There will be no more sea, as the sea was considered to be the habitation of evil, which has been defeated through the obedience of Jesus. For those who embrace the new Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God, life will not end at their death, it will be changed because those who trust God will never be separated from him because he is their protector and strength.

As we have heard in previous weeks, the marriage between heaven and earth began in a stable in Bethlehem when God’s Word became flesh. It was consummated on the Cross and on Easter day Jesus’ resurrection is the result of the marriage and those who accept him as the Way and the Truth will share in the new life of the New Jerusalem. When God says, “Behold, I make all things new,” he is not making an empty promise. It is the resurrection that turns what we think is unreachable into reality.

Our first reading is an example of this. When St Paul suggested that the Gentiles are included among God’s people, it sent shock waves through the ranks of the strict Jews. These Jews thought that Paul was being outrageous because they believed that they alone were God’s chosen people. Was Jesus a Gentile?

Paul was describing God’s new post-resurrection age. But how do we live a people of this new age? How do we live as resurrection people? If we are to live as brothers and sisters of Jesus in this new age, we must live on earth as though we are already living in heaven.

Jesus puts flesh on this in his farewell speech to his disciples during the Last Supper when he gives his disciples a new commandment, namely, “love one another as I have loved you.”  This love is not some frothy emotional experience, it means that we have to let go of our security blanket of always wanting to be in control of everything and everyone. There are times in life when we need to take control, especially of ourselves, but we have a problem if we are a control freak. Control can be manipulative weapon and is the opposite of love. If we have a pathological need to control others, it is not surprising that we also need to control God and create him in our own image. If we can only trust ourselves we cannot trust God. Living such a life is being self-focussed but ultimately self-destructive because there can be no room for growth.

The love of God’s new age creates unity because it does not hold on to harm that may be done to us by others and hold on to it as a grudge. Jesus said that he and the Father are one, and he prayed that his disciples may also be in unity with each other. The unity of God’s people is what we must not only pray for but work for because that is the visible mark of discipleship. As with many things, what seems to be unreachable can be turned into reality and it starts with ourselves.

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About Author

Monsignor Harry Entwistle

Monsignor Entwistle was the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Educated at St Chad's Theological College, he was ordained a priest in the Church of England Diocese of Blackburn in 1964. After reception into the Roman Catholic Church, he was ordained to the priesthood in St Mary's Cathedral, Perth on 15 June 2012.

Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

By the Rev Msgr Harry Entwistle
Ordinary

Fifth Week of Easter Sunday 19th May 2019

The book of Revelation is one that fascinates people because they either cannot understand it, treat the imagery as though it is reality, or just think it is written by somebody who has been nibbling on magic mushrooms! It is actually a goldmine of spiritual truth.

In the early chapters of the book, heaven’s inhabitants are restricted to 144,000 male celibates while towards the end of the book from which today’s reading comes, heaven is declared to be open to all who embrace God’s truth and will.

God’s will is to make all things new, and in keeping with his imagery of the marriage between heaven and earth, John describes the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth as a bride adorned for her husband. There will be no more sea, as the sea was considered to be the habitation of evil, which has been defeated through the obedience of Jesus. For those who embrace the new Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God, life will not end at their death, it will be changed because those who trust God will never be separated from him because he is their protector and strength.

As we have heard in previous weeks, the marriage between heaven and earth began in a stable in Bethlehem when God’s Word became flesh. It was consummated on the Cross and on Easter day Jesus’ resurrection is the result of the marriage and those who accept him as the Way and the Truth will share in the new life of the New Jerusalem. When God says, “Behold, I make all things new,” he is not making an empty promise. It is the resurrection that turns what we think is unreachable into reality.

Our first reading is an example of this. When St Paul suggested that the Gentiles are included among God’s people, it sent shock waves through the ranks of the strict Jews. These Jews thought that Paul was being outrageous because they believed that they alone were God’s chosen people. Was Jesus a Gentile?

Paul was describing God’s new post-resurrection age. But how do we live a people of this new age? How do we live as resurrection people? If we are to live as brothers and sisters of Jesus in this new age, we must live on earth as though we are already living in heaven.

Jesus puts flesh on this in his farewell speech to his disciples during the Last Supper when he gives his disciples a new commandment, namely, “love one another as I have loved you.”  This love is not some frothy emotional experience, it means that we have to let go of our security blanket of always wanting to be in control of everything and everyone. There are times in life when we need to take control, especially of ourselves, but we have a problem if we are a control freak. Control can be manipulative weapon and is the opposite of love. If we have a pathological need to control others, it is not surprising that we also need to control God and create him in our own image. If we can only trust ourselves we cannot trust God. Living such a life is being self-focussed but ultimately self-destructive because there can be no room for growth.

The love of God’s new age creates unity because it does not hold on to harm that may be done to us by others and hold on to it as a grudge. Jesus said that he and the Father are one, and he prayed that his disciples may also be in unity with each other. The unity of God’s people is what we must not only pray for but work for because that is the visible mark of discipleship. As with many things, what seems to be unreachable can be turned into reality and it starts with ourselves.

Sermons List

About Author