am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- John 14
Guide for Fourth Week of Easter: April 13-19, 2008
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Fourth Week of Easter
On the Fourth Sunday of Easter we reflect on the Paschal Mystery more deeply. Psalm 118 says, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." Peter quotes this psalm in preaching that the crippled man was healed, " in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead." In John's Gospel, Jesus tells us, "A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
The first readings this week continue the story of the growth of the community, through the acts of the Apostles.For the gospels this week, we read from John's Gospel, chapters 10, 12, 13 and 14 - all emphasizing who Jesus is - from the Father and one with the Father. He has come to bring us light and life. He promises us that he is the gate, the way to life. And, he assures us that if we make our home in him, he will be in us, and we will thereby be one with Jesus and the Father. He says, "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved." "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." "From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM." “Do not let your hearts be troubled." “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” "If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
All of this leads us to the Fifth Sunday of Easter where in the gospel, we hear Jesus console us, asking us to not let our hearts be troubled because he goes only to prepare a place for us and that "No one comes to the Father except through me."
Daily Prayer This Week
This will be a powerful week to reflect upon Jesus as our gate, gate keeper and shepherd.
Who among us hasn't felt threatened or fearful or lost at one time or another? To the degree we have any of that in our hearts this week, we can bring it all to the Lord. The words of the beautiful song by Marty Haugen come to mind: "Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life." Beyond what we want and what we fear is where we all can ask to be guided, cared for. The intimacy of knowledge is a wonderful grace to ask for each day, as well. Lord, I want to enjoy how you know me through and through, so much more than I know myself - even what I don't admit, acknowledge or accept in myself. You know and love me. O Lord, how I desire to know you. Show yourself to me. Let me recognize your voice, your urgings, your comfort and your call.
We can ask for graces about the areas of darkness we are going to have to walk through, engage in and wrestle with each day this week. We can ask to be brought to the Father by Jesus. We can confidently ask that we might be able to do what Jesus does - in the very places we find ourselves this week.
Imagine how helped we will be this week to wake each morning and just have these kind of prayers on our lips. As we focus them throughout each day, we will be doing two things: letting these desires deepen in our hearts in the background of our consciousness, and we will let them interact and transform the options before us and the choices we make. We will be able to feel how good this feels, how it lightens our spirits and how it helps us end each day feeling a gifted intimacy with our Lord.
Each night we can look back over the day with gratitude, even as we get ready for bed. Later in the week, we can begin to want to hear the upcoming Sunday gospel, longing to hear Jesus say to us: "Do not let your hearts be troubled."
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