During World War II, my great-uncle in Italy served as a “partisan”—a resistance fighter against the Nazis—and he gave his life for that cause. Resistance fighters like him fought throughout occupied Europe. They had to communicate secretly, often in code, as they tried to give hope to their captive brothers and sisters.
On these Easter Sundays, we read from the Book of Revelation. This New Testament work is puzzling, with its strange descriptions and symbolism. Many readers misunderstand its purpose, and try to find involved, often convoluted references to specific events in our own time or the future. But much of Revelation refers to the time in which it was written. Like those resistance fighters in occupied Europe, the early Christians lived through persecution under Roman rule. I like to understand the Book of Revelation as a kind of “resistance literature”—a message of hope shared by persecuted Christians. Jesus has triumphed over evil; God’s enemies will be defeated, even death itself.
Today, we Christians face our own troubles. We need to hear encouragement, as the Book of Revelation tells us that all will be made new—that death is not the end. It’s an ancient message of hope as new as today’s dawn.
In the first reading, what did Paul and Barnabas tell the disciples to do when they returned to places that they had already visited and where they made some converts?
Whom did Paul and Barnabas appoint in each new community of believers that they started?
The second reading has John telling his vision of a new heaven and a new earth. What happened to the former ones?
What is the new Jerusalem? Who will live there with the people?
This week's Gospel recounts that after Judas left the supper, Jesus talks about how the “Son of Man” is glorified and God is glorified in him. What is the new commandment that Jesus gives his disciples?
How will all people know that we are disciples of Jesus?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Jesus says that we should love one another. Make a list of all the ways that you could show love for someone.
For this week, try to do one thing every day that shows someone you know that you care about him or her. It could be as simple as a note saying what you love about that person. Or you make them a small gift. Whatever you decide to do, let him or her know that they are special to you.