18 May 2024, Saturday of the 7th week of Easter

Acts 28, 16-20.30-31; John 21, 20-25


With the solemnity of Pentecost, which we celebrate tomorrow, the liturgical season of Easter comes to an end. In the Eucharistic celebrations of the last seven weeks, the first reading, generally taken from the Book of Acts, has introduced us to the witness of the first martyrs of the Faith and the life of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, followed by the preaching to the Nations beyond the Jewish world, and particularly the ministry of Paul. The reading of the Gospel has told us about the appearances of Jesus to his disciples during this /period; and, since the beginning of the last week, we have been reading the chapters of the Gospel of John relating the words of Jesus to his disciples during the last meal he had with them and his long prayer to his Father during this same meal. So it was only natural that, on this last day of Paschal Time before Pentecost, we should read the last verses of the Acts of the Apostles and the last verses of John's Gospel.

From Monday, our liturgical calendar will return to "Ordinary Time". There is much to be said about the beauty of Ordinary Time. For now, let's just remember that with the conclusion of the Easter season, a new page is being turned. A new liturgical season is beginning, which must manifest itself as a new season in our spiritual life.

In our human lives, it is important to live in the present, which is our point of contact with God's eternal present. The temptation is often great to live in nostalgia for the past (the "good old days") or in dreams of a wonderful time to come. It's important to learn to turn the page at the right moment - to know when to close a chapter in the book of our lives, to turn the page and start a new chapter with all our energy. This is another way of describing the constant call to conversion.

The events we have been experiencing collectively over the last few years remind us of this requirement. We have gone through periods of confinement to periods of de-confinement; and experienced various waves of the pandemic. If all goes well, we hope to return soon to a 'normal' situation, but it will be a new normal, not like the one before. It will be a new chapter in humanity and in our lives.

It's important to realise that in all of this there is a call for each of us to be reborn, to be converted to a fuller, more unified life. Let us pray to the Holy Spirit, whose light we will especially implore in tomorrow's liturgy, to show us the "conversions" to which we are called, collectively and individually.

Let us turn the page, and may the text of the new page be of great beauty!