It is fitting and appropriate that the First Week of Easter should concentrate on the resurrection appearances of Jesus. This it does by drawing our attention to the resurrection appearances of Jesus as narrated by the different Evangelists. The variety of appearances and manner in which Jesus appears indicates that the resurrection is an event that cannot be captured in words. We have to read, reflect, pray and also wonder.
From the beginning of the Second Week till the end of the Seventh Week of Easter, all the readings are taken from the Gospel of John. In the Second Week part of the focus is on the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus and the correction of Nicodemus’ misunderstanding about below and above and the other part focuses on Jesus as satisfying the physical need of people by feeding the five thousand and then revealing himself as Son of God to his disciples by walking on water.
The Third Week is dedicated exclusively to Jesus as the Bread of Life. In these readings Jesus explicates how as Bread, he is not only available to all but is also able to satisfy the hunger of people more fully than any manna from heaven could ever do.
In the Fourth Week, Jesus is revealed as the Good Shepherd and the Sheep Gate. He comes across as one who knows the sheep by name and cares for them. Others who try to enter by other gates are impostors and the sheep will not listen to their voice. They will hear only the voice of the true and Good Shepherd.
The Fifth Week of Easter concentrates on the Vine and the Branches where the invitation is to be part of the vine. If a branch remains on its own, it will only wither and die. If it remains part of the vine then it will bear much fruit, fruit that will last.
The Sixth Week already begins the preparation for the departure of Jesus by focusing our attention on the Advocate whom Jesus gifts as his gift to the disciples and the whole world. The Advocate will not give a new teaching but will only explicate what Jesus has already taught. It will be with the disciples, guiding their way and lighting their path.
In the Seventh and Final week before Pentecost, Jesus prays in thanksgiving to the Father for all that the Father has accomplished in and through him. He also prays for the disciples who will continue to be in the world, that they may have the courage to witness to that love which Jesus manifested on the cross. Finally, he prays for all those who will believe because of the proclamation that the disciples make.
In the last two days before Pentecost, we read about the commission to Peter to be Shepherd of the flock that Jesus leaves behind and that a beloved disciple must remain until Jesus comes again.
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