Reflections

REFLECTION  7TH EASTER SUNDAY     Acts 1: 12-14  Jn 17: 1-11

   ON THIS 7TH EASTER SUNDAY, PUSHING US TOWARD PENTECOST, WE HEAR ABOUT PRAYER – THE PRAYER OF JESUS AND THE PRAYER OF THE CHURCH.  JESUS PRAYS FOR US IN A VERY PERSONAL WAY, REMINDING US TO BE LIKE HIMSELF, “IN THE WORLD” BUT NOT “OF THE WORLD.”  HE ASKS THE FATHER TO TAKE CARE OF US AS HE PREPARES TO LEAVE THE WORLD YET BE WITH US IN A DIFFERENT WAY. 

    IN ACTS, THE FIRST IMAGE OF THE CHURCH IS THAT GATHERING OF DISCIPLES, THE 11, NOW, AND SOME WOMEN, INCLUDING MARY, HUDDLED      IN PRAYER, AWAITING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT.

   WE CERTAINLY KNOW MORE ABOUT HUDDLING IN PRAYER THESE DAYS.  AND, WE’VE LEARNED SOMETHING MORE AS WELL ABOUT BEING “IN THE WORLD” BUT NOT “OF THE WORLD.”  ONE OF THE BLESSINGS OF THE PANDEMIC IS THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE SPENDING MUCH MORE TIME IN PRAYER AND ARE NOT AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT THAT.  THE IRONY IS THAT THIS IS HAPPENING WHILE WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GATHER FOR PUBLIC PRAYER, OUR PRECIOUS PRAYER OF EUCHARIST.

    AS WE BEGIN TO “COME OUT,” IN VARIOUS STAGES AND WAYS OF SOCIAL LIFE AGAIN, LET US REMEMBER THIS LESSON FROM OUR CRISIS.  IF YOU FOUND NEW WAYS TO PRAY, ADDITIONAL WAYS TO PRAY, MORE THINGS AND PEOPLE TO PRAY ABOUT, DO NOT LET THIS DEEPENING OF THE SPIRIT SLIP AWAY.  KEEP PRAYING; TRYING DIFFERENT METHODS; READING MORE SCRIPTURE; PICKING UP SPIRITUAL TIDBITS FROM ARTICLES, BOOKS AND WEBSITES.  REMEMBER MORE OFTEN TO STOP DURING THE DAY “IN THE WORLD” TO BE OTHER-WORLDLY.  KEEP IN HEARTFELT PRAYER THE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE HELD A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR PRAYER DURING THE PANDEMIC:  THE SICK, SUFFERING, DYING AND MOURNING; OUR HEALTH CARE WORKERS AND FIRST REPSONDERS; ALL THOSE PROVIDING OUR BASIC NEEDS FROM THE SOURCE THROUGH THE TRAVELS TO THE CONSUMER PLATFORMS; OUR LEADERS TRYING TO GUIDE US.  YES, IN SPITE OF IT ALL, WE HAVE BEEN VERY BLESSED.  IN FAITH, WE HAVE REDISCOVERED BOTH GOD’S GOODNESS AND OUR NEED FOR GOD’S HELP.                A CHURCH AT PRAYER, FOLLOWING THE LEAD AND EXAMPLE OF OUR SAVIOR AT PRAYER. 

    REMEMBER TO ADD THIS WEEK A DAILY PRAYER ASKING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DOUSE US ONCE AGAIN, NOT ONLY FOR PENTECOST, AND NOT ONLY TO HELP WITH THE PANDEMIC, BUT TO BE A PEOPLE WHO LIVE  “IN THE WORLD” WITHOUT BECOMING “OF THE WORLD.” 

EASTER SEASON SCRIPTURES:   ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

    At virtually every Mass in the Easter Season, we enjoy a selection from the Acts of the Apostles.  It begins with the first movements of the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus, even recording the Ascension!  It concludes several years later with Paul, under imprisonment in Rome, still "preaching the Word of God and proclaiming the Kingdom."  I've often said, the true conclusion of the Acts of the Apostles is "..." since it is meant to encourage the apostles after the first Apostles to carry on the work of the Kingdom.  In other words, the Acts of the Apostles continue today.

    Leadership is an interesting piece of Acts.  Peter is clearly the first one who boldly forges ahead.  James heads the Church in Jerusalem - his voice of reason guides the Church in its first official council.  But his discipleship, like many in this text, will cost him his life.  Paul takes over the latter portion of Acts.  His story of conversion is important enough to be recorded twice in the text.  The faith and courage of our first leaders inspire a constant growth in the Church.

     The Book of Acts is the second text attributed to St. Luke.  For him, the story of Jesus continues in the story of the Church.  At a certain point, Luke steps into the picture and describes himself as part of the action, using the first-person pronoun, "We."

      Perhaps you can walk through the Book of Acts day by day in your Easter prayer and reflection.  Watch the Church imitate Jesus, react to its own circumstances, and grow through its many experiences.  

       This Easter season, become part of the "We."  You/We are carrying on the actions of the Apostles.  In the sample given to us this coming Sunday, we hear the ideal picture of the first days of the Church:  we thrive as a community even in difficult circumstances; we give what we have for the care of others; and we bear witness to the Resurrection...     

                                                                        

PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

    Lord Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Eucharist.  I love you above all things                 and I desire to receive You into my soul.  Since I cannot recieve You at the present time sacramentally, come into my heart.  I embrace You and pray to unite myself completely to You.  Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen.  

 

PRAYER FOR A PANDEMIC

    Jesus, the Divine Physician, bless us at this time of need with Your healing and mercy.

   May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.  May we who have        no risk factors remember the most vulnerable.  May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.  May we         who have the flexibility to care for our children while schools are closed remember those who have               no options.  May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no place to go.  May we      who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have           no margin at all.  May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.     During this time when we cannot wrap our arms around all those we care about find ways to share           the loving embrace fo God with those we are able to reach.  Jesus, the Divine Physician, bless us at this time of need with Your healing and mercy.  

 

 

 

 

 
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