do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
Creighton University Online Ministries
Celebrating Easter, 2016
Praying Ordinary Time | The Easter Proclamation | Renewal of our Baptismal Promises
Pope Francis' 2016 Easter Message |
Seventh Week of Easter
On Sunday, most of the world will celebrate the Seventh Sunday of Easter. As if in preparation for Pentecost Sunday on May 15, we read in Acts of the stoning of Stephen, who is “filled with the Holy Spirit.” In John's Gospel the poetic words of Jesus are a love song to us as he prays to his Father, “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me....”
Saturday is the Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle.
During the upcoming week, the first reading continues from the Acts of the Apostles. We are following the preaching and ministry of Paul. We can feel his intensity as he urges the Ephesians to follow his example in living the faith “I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me...” He returns to Jerusalem to face persecution but remains under house arrest, teaching and meeting with followers.
The gospels are mostly from John's Gospel, chapter 16 and 17. Jesus warns his disciples that they will be scattered and says they will find trouble in the world but assures them he has conquered the world. Jesus' prayer reflects the passionate, inseparable nature between him and his Father. “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.” “I pray ... that they may all be one ... as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us.” Jesus challenges Peter three times to “feed my sheep” and the Easter season comes to a close with John's gospel on Saturday. Jesus reminds us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose youand appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”
Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. The readings and the whole Church celebrate the coming and ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit among us. The Apostles who had been so frightened are now on fire. Now they can speak clearly, so everyone can understand them. In John's Gospel, Jesus breathes on his jittery followers and tells them, “Peace be with you” and fills them with courage, giving them the mission to forgive and sending them to carry out his desire that we all be one.
Daily Prayer This Week:
We can hardly believe the message from this week's gospel. It is one of complete invitation to us. Jesus tells us of his intimate bond with the Father and invites us into the same kind of close relationship with Jesus himself.
He does not promise us a trouble-free life, and is clear about the challenges we will face as his followers. He cautions us that the world will want to make us one of “its own” and Jesus lovingly protests that we are his, not the world's. He prays to the Father of us, “They are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me...”
This kind of loving dialogue with the Father is what Jesus wants with us. It does not mean our lives will be trouble-free but we are offered the peace in our hearts that Jesus longs to give us.
Some days we may feel anything but peace in our hearts. That is the time to pause and open our hands and our hearts to the Lord. Just the simple physical act of opening our hands can send a signal to our hearts. We can stop thinking and start feeling the love that Jesus has for us.
We can begin each morning at the side of our beds, aware of the sacredness of the day ahead of us, and ask for peace, courage and guidance. On our way to work or while taking care of our family, cooking or running errands, we can stop for the briefest moment and ask again: “Lord, help me to feel how much you love me. Help me to accept that love and carry it to all those you send into my life today.”
And at the end of the day, we can pause again at the side of our bed, reflect for a moment on our day and offer thanks for the moments where we felt in our hearts the love of Jesus. And, we can ask that tomorrow we can feel the Lord's own love and compassion for us - and beg that we can pass that along.
Like Peter in Friday's gospel, we have denied Jesus many times in our lives but he looks at us again with love and simply says, “Follow me.”
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