Scripture Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter
find these readings here at USCCB website.
Sister Rose Marie started us out with a question this week. “What do you think St. John means when he says, ‘We shall be like [God], for we shall see Him as He is?’ It seems like he is saying that because we shall see Him, we shall be like Him.” Usually, as Sr. Mary Andrea pointed out, we think of it the other way around: we shall see God in heaven, because we will have been made like Him. Perfection in God’s image and likeness is the prerequisite for heaven, so to speak. But St. John turns it around. We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Her question started a glorious discussion about the power of God’s being. Sr. Cecilia Maria suggested that since God is Life Himself, so creative and regenerative in His very essence, perhaps merely being in His Presence changes us into Himself. Perhaps seeing God as He truly is, is a bit like standing by a fire: if you stand close enough, you become fire yourself! Our discussion continued: perhaps this is a hint at what Purgatory is. If when we die, we have not yet become like God, perhaps the sight of Him in all His Holiness, Power, and Beauty transforms us into His perfect likeness!
Sr. Mary Veronica had a beautiful suggestion: St. John may mean something more than physical sight here. “To see God” may well take on the deep implications of the Biblical “know,” implying profound communion between two beings. When we see God as He is, we will know Him, and that knowledge will by its very nature bring about the intimate communion of spousal love. Knowledge between God and the soul renders each into the other!
The other half of our sharing focused on our call to communion with Christ Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Sr. Cecilia Maria was captivated by Jesus’ statement, “I will lay down my life for the sheep…. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.” We are baptized into Christ, and we are called to the same reality, the same powerful and heroic choice! When I am hurt, when I suffer, when I must die to myself in the course of my day, I have a choice: I can be a victim and say, “woe is me,” or I can freely lay down my life for the sheep. Jesus looked like a powerless victim in His Passion, but He turned around and chose it. He chose to die for me and for the whole world. I must do the same! Our chaplain preached a beautiful homily on this call: we are all called to be Good Shepherds in our own lives; we are all called to lay down our life for the sheep entrusted to us. And as contemplative nuns, the whole world is the flock in our care!
Sr. Mary Andrea connected this reality with the psalm. “We bless you from the house of the Lord!” the psalmist sings. Since we are the house of the Lord by our baptism, we are called to be a blessing for the world wherever we are! We dwell in communion with Christ; we always and everywhere must live His life of redemption for the world.