Sixth Sunday of Easter (Ages 6-9): Before and After

(Adults, you could begin by reading the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)


John 14.23-29


This Sunday we celebrate the sixth Sunday of Easter. We take so much time to celebrate this great feast and to ponder the great mystery of Jesus' death and Resurrection. Because it is a mystery, there is always more for us to discover. We draw near to the mystery as we listen to the Word of God.


At the Last Supper, Jesus tries in many ways to prepare his disciples for his death and Resurrection. He knows it is a mystery. He tries to help them draw closer.


“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

Jesus knows that death brings a great change. Soon he will die on the cross, and he will not be with his disciples in the same way that he is with them now. He needs them to understand that they will not be alone. God will send the Holy Spirit.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.

This is interesting. When Jesus gives the disciples his peace, he tells them that he gives in a way that is different from how the world gives.


How does the world give?


The world gives, expecting something in return.

The world gives, but only until death.

The world gives something and it is given away. It is gone. It is done.

The giving ends.


But Jesus does not give as the world gives.

Before he goes away, Jesus gives his disciples his peace. When he comes to them after the Resurrection, the first thing he says to them is, "Peace be with you." Peace before, peace after.

Jesus gives his peace expecting nothing in return.

Jesus gives his peace until death, and he keeps on giving.

Jesus gives his peace before the cross, through the cross, after the cross.

The giving continues.

Before and after. Always.

Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’

Jesus goes ahead of them. Jesus comes to them.

Before and after.

Beginning and end.

Alpha and Omega.

All time belongs to him

and all the ages.


Nothing separates him from his friends.

Even when they cannot see him, he is there.

Before and After.

Always.

They do not need to be afraid.


And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Jesus tells them all these things before the great mystery of his death and Resurrection so that they may believe after. Death changes things, but it is not the end.


We know this. Jesus goes ahead. Jesus comes. The Holy Spirit reminds us when we are afraid. Nothing separates Jesus from his friends, not even death.

Even when we cannot see him, he is here.

Before and After. Always.

We do not need to be afraid.

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