Sunday, May 04, 2008

Seventh Sunday of Easter (A)

Acts 1:12-14
Ps 27:1, 4, 7-8 or Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
1 Pt 4:13-16
Jn 17:1-11a

All the readings for this Sunday's Mass can be best enjoyed, understood and summed up by the message we proclaim in the responsorial Psalm. This should be a favorite scripture that we post at our desks or on our mirrors or anywhere we'll see it often, because it has the power to uplift us when we're experiencing the darkest of times and the most hopeless of situations: "I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living!" Oh yeah, alleluia!

Repeatedly, God used it to reaffirm that we can trust in his promises. It was going to be a long, painful time before the good things of the Lord that we were praying for would finally come to pass, and not all if it has come to full fruition yet, but this scripture kept our faith intact.

The Gospel reading shows us that Jesus recognized the good things of his Father in the land of the living. Notice how he appreciated the trust that his followers had placed in him. Isn't it delightful when the people we care about believe us and accept everything that we give to them as we offer them our faith!

And when they don't? That's when we turn to Jesus and give to him the love that they've rejected. We accept his words, as revealed in scripture, understanding that he came from the Father, and thus we gain trust in the Father's plan. Jesus is praying for you. Eventually, you WILL INDEED see the good things of the Lord in the land of living!

Questions for Personal Reflection:

What are the good things of the Lord that you're waiting for? How do you feel about the wait? How strong is your trust in God's perfect timing? What is God asking YOU to do so that you will become more available to his blessings?

Questions for Group Faith Sharing:

Think of a time when you had to wait on God. What gave you hope? Which one of next Sunday's readings can you most closely identify with?

- Waiting in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit, not knowing what will happen next (first reading).

- Sharing in the sufferings of Christ (second reading).

- Working hard in a job or ministry and trusting the Father for its outcome (Gospel reading).


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How often do we promise to pray for someone we care about? Did you know there’s a special prayer for each of us, prayed by Christ himself?

Today we read from John’s Gospel from what known as the “Last Discourse.” At the Last Supper, Jesus speaks to his disciples about his coming absence. Scripture scholar Raymond Brown tells us that Christ’s words, addressed to his intimate circle of followers, can also be understood as the Risen Jesus speaking from heaven to all those who will follow after him.

Today’s selection, near the end of the Discourse, is a prayer of Jesus, addressed to the Father. It sums up Christ’s work on earth. He’s revealed God to the disciples and they’ve entered into a relationship with God, in and through Jesus. Now, he prays for those who will remain “in the world,” after he has returned to the Father.

We’re the subjects of this prayer as much as the original disciples were. We remain “in the world.” We need support and affirmation to continue living out the word entrusted to us by Christ.

Elsewhere, the Lord assures us that the Spirit is his gift to us, providing the support we need. We pray for that gift as we approach next week’s Feast of Pentecost.


Scripture:

•After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. (Acts 1:12)

•Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks. (Psalm 27:8)

•If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:14)

•Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)

Reflection:

•How do you know Jesus the Son of God and how do you know God?

•What does your heart speak? Where does your glance seek?

•Is there any other way to be blessed by God except to be insulted in the name of Jesus Christ?

•How far can you travel on a Sabbath day’s journey? (Hint: How far do you travel when you receive the Eucharist and where do you arrive?)

The man who communicates loses himself in God like a drop of water in the ocean; it’s impossible to separate them anymore…. In these vast depths of love, there’s enough to lose yourself for eternity.


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