Fourth Sunday of Easter
First reading: Acts 4:8-12
Responsorial Psalm: 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29
Second reading: 1 Jn 3:1-2
Gospel: Jn 10:11-18
Standing at the stove in her small kitchen, my daughter cooks with one hand, holds Judith in the other. The months-old child gazes at me over her mother’s shoulder. If I make a feint toward her cheek, she instantly ducks, but then pops up and resumes her wide-eyed, unhurried examination of me.
I wasn’t there the day Judith was born. But I know, because she’s human, that in the first minutes after she emerged into the light, she started looking for a face, her mother’s face, and within a day or two she could distinguish that face from others. Our first need when we arrive in the world is to lock eyes with the person on whom we are dependent. From our first moments, we are face seekers.
And isn’t that what we always are — seekers of the face of a parent, a friend, a lover, the face of someone to help in time of need, someone to understand us, someone to help us stay grounded, to stay on track, someone to play golf with?
And aren’t those faces and, in fact, the faces of all the people we meet along the way in life, the greatest wonder we encounter? (If we can’t say yes, is it perhaps because we have forgotten something that Judith already knows?)
And isn’t our whole life moving toward a face?
In our second reading today, John tells us that in the Resurrection — which we can hardly conceive of — we do not know what we will be like, but we can know, at least, that we will be like Jesus, because “we shall see him as he is.”
When we are born out of this world into the world to come, all our face seeking will come to a conclusion. We will see the one who loved us into existence and guided us through this present life.
John makes a repeated, insistent declaration that he was one of those who had seen Jesus of Nazareth. “What we have seen with our eyes,” he said, “the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us — what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you” (1 John 1:1-3).
In the end, we too will see him. We will be face-to-face with him, no farther apart than Judith and me in my daughter’s kitchen.
Perrotta is the editor and an author of the “Six Weeks With the Bible” series, teaches part time at Siena Heights University and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.