Acts 17:15, 22–18:1; John 16:12-15
One of man’s great quests is the pursuit of truth. All of us seek the truth. We seek the assurance that what we know is really true. We are opposed to falsehood and deceit. We have no confidence in those who would deceive us by hiding or withholding the truth. We seek the truth in many ways. Students seek the truth in their studies. They want to learn and they seek the truth by the questions that they ask. Lawyers seek the truth in questions pertaining to the law. They want to know the true facts so that they can apply the law properly to the case. Theologians seek the truth about God and his relationship to his creation. They want to learn more about God so that all of us can know God better and follow him more closely.
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."
By Christopher Wells
Remaining in the love of Christ was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflection at the Regina Coeli on Sunday.
A challenging program
“Dwelling in the current of the love of God, taking up a stable residence there, is the condition for ensuring that our love does not lose its ardour or audacity,” the Pope said. Like Jesus, and in Him, we must welcome the Father’s love, without separating ourselves from it through selfishness and sin. “This is a challenging program,” the Pope said, but not an impossible one.
Acts 16:11-15; John 15:26—16:4a
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. -- Acts 15:26-27.
A great portion of that Last Supper discourse of Jesus is devoted to talk of the Holy Spirit, and how that Spirit is going to pick up where Jesus left off, as the aspect of the divine presence that Jesus’ followers are going to experience most directly. And he uses a special name for the Holy Spirit—paraclete, which can be translated a numbers of ways: Helper, Comforter, Defender. The basic idea is that of a person called to your side to assist you in some way.
Acts 10:25-26.34-35.44-48; 1 John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. John 15:9-17
John takes us to the heart of the Christian discipleship: Love for others as God has loved us. He interprets the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross as his loving sacrifice of himself for us in obedience to God’s loving will and purpose, not only for himself but for the whole world.
Acts 16:1-10; John 15:18-21
Today’s readings include a prayer: “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy”. But that prayer is bracketed by the present reality of difficulty: a cry for help from troubled people (Acts 16) and a warning from our Lord that the world may not always be welcoming to those who follow him (John 15).
Today’s Psalm contains the familiar imagery of God tending His flock: “he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends.” The sheep bleat a joyful message: “serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song”; “The Lord is good: his kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.” But this entreaty for all the earth to share in this joy is not always well received, particularly by those not among the flock.
"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...
1 Cor 15:1-8; Ps 18; John 14:6-14
The Gospel reading features Philip’s final appearance in the Gospel account. It happens during the long account of the Last Supper which we find in John and where Jesus speaks at length to his disciples. They must have been in somewhat of a confused state, knowing that the enemies of Jesus were practically outside the door waiting to destroy him. There were still many parts of Jesus’ teaching that they did not understand.
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.
Prayer to St. Joseph
Patron Saint of Workers,
We ask for your blessing upon all of our efforts.
May our work each day be a blessing
Which allows us to recognize the dignity of human labor.
May we see our work as an opportunity
To build up the Kingdom of God.
With you as our model and example,
May we be instruments of the love and peace
Which the gospel calls us to share
In every aspect of our lives.
Help us in our daily labor and encourage all those
Who seek meaningful work. Amen