Reflection for Sunday May 12, 2019: 4th Week of Easter.

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Janky, Gladyce
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The phrase, "We do not learn from our experiences, we learn by reflecting on them," has been attributed to several individuals.  It could easily be attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Ignatius repeatedly emphasizes the benefits of daily reflection.  The Examen offers everyone the opportunity of experiencing deeper personal awareness which then opens up the possibility of profound growth and understanding.   Deep reflection on past events to arrive at a new meaning of those experiences is what I hear in the Gospel of John.  This text is believed to have been written sometime between 90AD and 110AD.  The author is looking back at Jesus' earthly ministry, his death and resurrection, and perhaps wondering why Jesus has not yet returned.  Rather than lose hope, he sets out to find the deeper meaning of Jesus' ministry and then shares his reflection with the faithful. Today's gospel reading seems to be inviting me to explore how this text is still a source of hope, especially given the state of our world today.|My reflection begins by exploring the context of the Johannine community.  The Christians had witnessed the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and their subsequent alienation from Jewish society, the beheading of the Apostle Paul and the crucifixion of the Apostle Peter (upon this rock I will build my church, Mt 16:18).  They were waiting, and maybe questioning why the second coming had not happened.  I imagine any single event of the magnitude of each of these would be enough to rattle the faith for many in their community.  The evangelist is in the midst of these trials.  He is personally integrating these experiences, seeking what he needs to maintain hope as well as what God is inspiring him to write.  His reflection leads him to a richer understanding of historical events and, with God's grace, he shares a vision of eternal hope with his community and us. |Today, there are many "faith rattling events."  We can all probably name at least a few.   Some that might be very personal and others we bear witness to from the comfort of our homes. In today's reading, my hope comes from the evangelist's explanation that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, is in perfect unity with the Father.  Together they hold us.  Nothing can pull us away, no matter what happens.  There may be more "faith rattling events" in my future, or yours, but there is one constant, one eternal hope.  God holds us.  God will not drop us.  Or, said another way, God has our backs, no matter what happens.|No one can take them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand.  The Father and I are one.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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