It is almost the end of the Easter season. Let us review the message given by the Gospels during these six Sundays of Easter before the Asension of the Lord.
· On Easter Sunday we contemplated Peter and John going to the tomb and on seeing the burial cloths John believed.
· On the second Sunday we saw the goodness and tender love of Jesus in his dialogue with Thomas, and with the other apostles, and we heard the Lord saying that those who believe without seeing are blessed.
· On the third Sunday we read about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and how Jesus joined them in their journey.
· On the fourth Sunday Jesus said that he is the good Shepherd and the door of the sheep.
· On the fifth and Sixth Sundays the Gospels are taken from the conversation of Jesus with his disciples in the Last Supper:
· Fifth Sunday:
- Heaven is like a house with many rooms, one for each one
- Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to get to this “house”
- Jesus is the image of God the Father, the sacrament of the Father as we read in the document Lumen Gentium of the Council Vatican II.
- And Jesus tells us that he/she who beleives in Him will do greater works than him, because He goes to the Father.
· Sixth Sunday:
- The promise of the Holy Spirit
- We are in Christ
FIRST READING – Acts 8:5-8; 14-17
Ø Last Sunday we heard that, as the community of the church was growing, they had to create more ministries, and thus the diaconate was established for the first time in the Church. Deacons were to dedicate themselves to serve the needs of the Church.
Ø Today Philip, one of the deacons that had been chosen by the community to serve the needs of the widows and other persons in need, goes to Samaria to bring there the Good News.
Ø They were suffering persecution for their faith in Jesus, and Paul was more and more against the new faith of the followers of Jesus
Ø Following what the Lord had told them, they went from one place to another to protect themselves from the persecution, and on so doing they also proclaimed in the different places the good news of Jesus.
Ø The Samaritans who listened to Philip proclaiming the Good News about Jesus, accepted the faith and were baptized.
Ø When the news reached the Apostles, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.
Ø And impose hands upon them so they could receive the Holy Spirit.
Ø This is a beautiful image of the young church, they take advantage of all situations to announce. The persecution is the occasion to announce the good news to other brothers and sisters.
Ø This little church makes real the mandate of Jesus “go, proclaim, baptize, teach” what? All that I have taught you.
Ø Is our enthusiasm for the Lord, like that of this young church? That we do not waste any occasion to live up to this mandate of the Lord, not so much by our words but by our life that cries out that the Lord is alive, and in encountering him in the community every Sunday, our life keeps changing?
RESPONSORIAL PSALM. Ps 66: 1-7.16.20.
LET ALL THE EARTH CRY OUT TO GOD WITH JOY
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth
Sing praise to the glory of his name
Proclaim his glorious praise
Say to God “How tremendous are your deeds.”
Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you
Sing praise to your name!
Come and see the works of God
His tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
He has changed the sea into dry land
Through the river they passed on foot
Therefore let us rejoice in him
He rules by his might forever.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
What he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
My prayer or his kindness.
This psalm is an invitation to sing the wonderful Works of God
Ø Exodus, liberation: he has changed the sea in dry land
Ø The Salmist invites us to listen to what God has done for him
Ø What has God done in my life? Let each one of us dedicate some time in silent prayer and in solitude with the Lord and, let us think about the wonderful works that the Lord has done in our life.
SECOND READING – 1Pt 3:15-18
ü Peter invites us to have Christ as the Lord of our heart, the Lord of our life.
ü He also says that we have to be ready to give an account of our faith when we are asked. This means that we have to know what we believe, to have ownership of the faith we have received from our ancestors.
ü Peter tells us also that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
ü Because Jesus who was innocent suffered for us sinners.
ü He was condemned to death, but God brought him to life by the Spirit
ü How do I react to the injust suffering in my life? When I suffer without having done the evil I am accused of.GOSPEL Jn 14,15-21
Jesus says to his disciples “if you love me, you will keep my commandments”
What are his commandments? In the Last Supper he said that he has only commandment “love one another…” but to learn how to make real this commandment in our life, we have to look at Jesus, his life, his ministry, the way he relates to other persons, because Jesus is the new Law that comes to complete the Old Covenant, the Law given on Mount Sinai.
If we live according to his commandments Jesus will ask the Father for another advocate who will be with us always
Why only with those who live according to his commandments who believe in Him? I have read something that may help us to answer this question:
ü The Spirit is the anointing that Jesus receives as Head of the body which is the Church
ü From Him, Head, the Spirit overflows as a sacred ointment over his whole body, the Church.
ü This Spirit that Jesus pours over his whole Church makes possible, the life, the faith and the ministries of the community of beleivers.
ü I think that this can be the explanation to what Jesus says that He will ask for the Spirit for those who keep his commandments.
ü That is to say to those who are united with Him the head of the body.
In silent prayer, united to Jesus, let us ask the grace to understand this beautiful image of Christ head of the Church-faith community- body.
The reading ends with these words of Jesus
· He who loves Jesus, will be loved by the Father
· Jesus too will love him/her and will reveal himself to him/her in the intimacy of love.
O, My Lord and my God, in what way you are the most loving father and the most faithful friend! All left us in the hands of unknown people and not even one had the courage to accompany us, but you my most loving father, carried us on the palm of your hand! O, who could shout all around the world to say how faithful you are to your friends! Since you have been so to the one who has been so great an enemy of yours, and, God grant that she may not continue to be such after receiving so many delicacies of love! (Venerable María Antonia París, Foundress of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 140)
On Tuesday, the eighth, I left Vich for Barcelona and Madrid, where the Papal Nuncio, Msgr. Brunelli, invested me with the pallium on the thirteenth. I was presented to Her Majesty and the Ministers of State. During the time it took to arrange all my credentials, I busied myself preaching and hearing confessions in Madrid. When all was in order I returned to Catalonia. I arrived in Igualada on October 31 and preached there for All Saints' Day. The following day I visited Montserrat, where I also preached. Next I went to Manresa, where Father Mach was conducting an All Souls' Novena. I preached there in the evening, and on the following morning gave Holy Communion to a large crowd who had heard that I would be there and so had prepared for it. (St. Anthony Mary Claret, Founder of the Claretian Missionary Sisters, 500)
CLARET, Antonio María. Autobiografía.
PARIS, María Antonia. Autobiografía.
SCHÖKEL, Luis Alonso, La Biblia de nuestro Pueblo.DAILY ROMAN MISSAL – Midwest Theological Forum