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Reflection on the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Posted on May 24, 2020, by Maureen McCormack SL

These days of the Easter season are filled with remarkable events as recorded in the Scriptures. Sister Jeanne Dueber calls these events to our attention through her Stations of Life outside the back door of the church. Her Stations of Life begin with Jesus rising from the dead, then appearing to Peter, John and Mary Magdalene, then to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, on to Thomas who would not bring himself to believe that Jesus was alive until he could put his finger into the wounds in Jesus’ hands and his hand into Jesus’ side, then Jesus cooking fish on shore and inviting the Apostles who had been fishing to add some of their own fish to what he was cooking, next Jesus ascending into heaven, the feast we just celebrated on Ascension Thursday.

Our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles picks up from there. After Jesus had been taken up to heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem, went to the upper room and along with the women including Mary, the mother of Jesus, devoted themselves with one accord to prayer. I, too, have an upper room in which I spend much of my days. Recently, I found myself saying, “O God, you fill my whole room with your presence. I am filled with joy.” We might all experience something similar. Somehow, wherever we are, the space becomes enlarged with the spaciousness of God.

In the Responsorial Psalm, we pray, “Whom should I fear? Of whom should I be afraid? God is my light, my salvation, my life’s refuge.” People here and all over the world have had reason to be afraid as they experience this pandemic and anticipate its return stronger in the fall. We mourn with those who have already lost loved ones, with those who are suffering now from this virus, or who live in fear that they or loved ones may contract it. Jesus promises in the Alleluia verse today, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.”

In the Gospel, Jesus seems to be reviewing with his Father all that he was sent to do. He was given authority over all people to give them eternal life, so that they and we would come to know God and Jesus Christ, the one who showed us how to live.

Jesus reports to his Father that those to whom he was sent have been responsive to what he has shared with them about God’s longing to be with them, all God’s hopes about what they would be able to accomplish in life. Toward the end of the conversation, I sense Jesus’ joy as he says, “I will no longer be in the world. I have finished the work You sent me to do. I am coming to You.” I can also hear God’s response: “Good job. Welcome home.” Perhaps when we have completed our work on Earth, we will be greeted with something similar: “Good job. Welcome home.”

As one of our founders, Father Charles Nerinckx said to us long ago, “I know not what to say to impress you sufficiently with the sacredness of your calling.” (“I Am the Way,” page 4). Let us work every day to honor the sacredness of our calling and to bring it to a successful conclusion.


Maureen McCormack SL

Maureen, a former president of the Loretto Community, has worked for social justice in a wide variety of areas, including serving on the boards of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation and of Eco-Justice Ministries, an ecumenical group working with churches on environmental issues. She is one of the founders of U.S. Women's History Month celebrations and has participated in three U.N. World conferences on Women. Maureen resides at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky.