Acts 16:22-34; John 16:5-11
I tell you the sober truth: It is much better for you that I go. If I fail to go, the Paraclete will never come to you, whereas if I go, I will send him to you.
Lots of ink has been used to try to translate the Greek word, "Paraclete," which Jesus used to refer to the Spirit whom he would send to us. I like to reflect on his promise, by going to the root meaning of the word: para- + kalein. The verb kaleo is "to call." The prefix para adds the sense of "around, near, close by." The most basic meaning of the action described by putting para together with the verb "to call" is something like this: call together. And, so, the simplest sense of the translation of the word, as a proper name, might be, "the Gatherer."
The birth centenary of Pope St. John Paul II
(18th May 1920-2020)
The Birth Centenary of Pope St. John Paul II
Song For Karol - A moving tribute to Pope John Paul II by Mark Mallett with Raylene Scarrott.
Acts 16:1-10; John 15:18-21
John’s gospel for today seems rather depressing, certainly not very inviting. We are being told that the world will hate us and that we will be persecuted because God has chosen us. It reminds me of our kids chiding each other with, “Doesn’t that make you feel special?” when one was asked to do something that no one really wanted to do. I am sitting here sort of like the kids and wondering, do I really want to be the special one to be chosen by God especially if hatred and persecution are the result?
"Love one another as I love you"
The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society... The Latin word con-solatio, “consolation”, expresses this beautifully. It suggests being with the other in his solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude. Furthermore, the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme...
Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; John 15:9-17
Today is the feast day of Saint Matthias. How do we share in the “luck” of Saint Matthias who joined the apostles after casting lots? If we imagine ourselves in Matthias’ place, our spot opening up to join the apostles, just after Jesus’ crucifixion. What would our ministry be? How would we live our lives? What can we do today to bring our lives more in congruency with our call?
Acts 15:1-6; John 15:1-8
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. … Remain in me, as I remain in you. … I am the vine, you are the branches.” (Jesus)
What a privilege to be a branch connected to Jesus, the True Vine. What a consolation to realize that this is because of the will of the Father, the Vine Grower. That gives me confidence that I can live my life unafraid. The Father is in charge and he has me right where he wants me.
Acts 14:19-28; John 14:27-31a
In today’s gospel reading the risen Jesus tells his disciples: Peace I leave with you; my peace is my gift to you. Is this the same Jesus, who had earlier said: Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace, but the sword [Mt. 10: 34]? A superficial reader might have the impression that Jesus is talking “out of both sides of his mouth,” but we are not called to be superficial readers. I personally think that the apparent conflict has its roots in our uncritical understanding of what that peace is, an understanding (misunderstanding) that is quite common in our “world”. Yet Jesus clarifies the above promise of peace with the words: Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Acts 14:5-18; John 14:21-26
The gospel reading today gives us chance to reflect on one of the fundamental mysteries of our Christian faith: the Trinity. All three of the divine persons are part of the reading from John’s gospel. The passage is an excerpt from the long and beautifully nuanced discourse Jesus gives to his disciples before his death. The passage in its entirety is a kind of “last will and testament” of Jesus to his closest friends and companions. It is Jesus’ way of continuing to let himself be known to the disciples and of helping them to look forward to the day when he would not be with them any longer in the flesh.
Acts 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12
I really like the glimpses we get of the apostles in the gospels because those glimpses also let us see the human side of Jesus, his patience and his love for them. These men were often confused, puzzled, ready to believe, but they are human. Jesus tells them to not let their hearts be troubled because he has a place for them. They know the way. But Thomas and Philip are not so sure. Their hearts and minds haven’t quite caught up. We, like the apostles, have to believe, and if we believe, that’s just the beginning. We have to believe and live the belief every day. Jesus and his message are the way, the truth and the life. At times, we will be like Philip: If you could just give us a clue, give us a little something. We have been shown the way. If we believe and follow the way, we have to love our neighbor. We have to walk on the right path. That’s not always easy. We know the right way. We are looking for a detour, that shortcut because it can be difficult. There are no shortcuts.