7th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 19:1-8
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the country and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They answered him, “We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” He said, “How were you baptized?” They replied, “With the baptism of John.” Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Altogether there were about twelve men. He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.
Gospel: Jn 16:29-33
The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
The Father is with me: Did you receive the Holy Spirit? By baptism we participate in the Divine life which is only made by the Holy Spirit. In this way, the Father is with us. This awareness of his intimate relationship with the Father, which has accompanied Jesus in his mission (cf. Jn 8:29), remains throughout its climactic hour. We too need to have this awareness that the Father is with us. This will give us the confidence and the peace we need. God as a Father, pities his children (cf. Ps 103:13); he reproves the man whom he loves as a father reproves the son in whom he delights (cf. Prov. 3:12), etc. The real point here is that God cares for us and is responsible for our existence. This gives us peace. Lastly, in referring to God as Father, Jesus emphasizes the metaphorical depiction which lies on the authority of the Father of the family and on the obedience due him. Therefore, the Father being with us implies our obedience to him as Jesus was to him.
Prayer: Father, give me the constant grace to know what pleases you, and the strength of will to put it into effect (St Anthony Mary Claret). Amen.
I HAVE CONQUARED THE WORLD: The feast of Ascension that we celebrated yesterday is an event of vindication of Jesus. At the cross, for the eyes of the world, the Father had abandoned him who claimed to be his Son. “If you are the Son of God, come down,” they said. But God raised him up on the third day in defence of the just man, as Peter proclaimed in his first sermon. Ascension commemorates how Jesus is seated at the right hand of Father. Yes, Jesus has conquered the world. It is also an assurance that with His grace, we too can conquer the world. So, take courage! He has conquered the world.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the courage that your life assures me of.
TRUE FAITH ENDURES: True faith that can withstand tribulations and persecutions. The example of Charles Lwanga and companions tells us that it is the conviction in what we believe that renders faith genuine. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit which St. Paul desired for the converts of Antioch; it is by no means a fruit of our efforts. Jesus calls on his followers to listen to him for he himself has conquered the world. Being in the company of powerful, places us on the safe side as nothing can befall us. In God’s company we are the safest. A life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, spiritual reading, self-sacrificing love for others are some means of cultivating our close relationship with God.