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Easter 6 Week: Daily Reflections

May 7 Monday: John 15:26--16:4 26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 16) 1 "I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them.  "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was  with you. 

Context: In his final discourse to his apostles, given at the Last Supper, Jesus assured them that he would not desert them. Instead, he would give them a powerful Divine Helper in the form of the Holy Spirit Whom Jesus would ask the Father to send to them in order to guide them and to strengthen them.

The role of the Holy Spirit as outlined in today’s Gospel:  1) As the Counselor or Paraclete or Advocate, the Holy Spirit would coach, defend and strengthen the apostles in their sufferings and persecution and would guide them during their trials before the civil authorities. 2) As the Spirit of Truth, He would bear witness to Jesus and enable the apostles to bear witness to Christ heroically before the pagans. The Holy Spirit would give them an experiential knowledge of Jesus and an in-depth knowledge of his teachings.  "The mission of the Church is carried out by means of that activity through which, in obedience to Christ's command and moved by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes itself fully present to all men and peoples in order to lead them to the Faith, freedom and peace of Christ by the example of its life and preaching, by the Sacraments and other means of grace" (Vatican II, Ad Gentes 5).

 Then Jesus foretells the nature of the persecution: 1) Excommunicating Jesus’ followers from synagogues; 2) Considering the murder of Jesus’ followers (“heretics”), a religious duty in defense of Judaism and, so, pleasing to Yahweh.

Life messages: 1) As the Divine Advocate, the Holy Spirit living within us continues to help us bear witness to Christ by assisting us to live transparent Christian lives. 2) He also gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. 3) As the Divine Teacher, the Holy Spirit, through our daily study of the Bible, helps us to know Jesus thoroughly, to love him personally and to experience him intimately, so that we may live the ideals of Christ and convey them to others through our genuine Christian lives.   (Fr. Tony) L/18

 

May 8 Tuesday: John 16: 5-11: 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, `Where are you going?' 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

The context: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tries to console his sad and disheartened disciples at the Last Supper, for they are at a loss, hearing the news of their master’s imminent departure.  So he assures them that they will not be left alone. He will send the Holy Spirit upon them as a Paraclete -- friend, guide, consoler, advocate and teacher. Then Jesus explains the three different roles of the Holy Spirit in their lives. First, He will convince the world about the seriousness of sin. Thus, the Holy Spirit will lead us to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness from Jesus. The Divine Advocate will demonstrate that not believing in Jesus is the real sin. It was the Holy Spirit who pricked the hearts of the Jews on the day of the Pentecost, convicting them of their sin of crucifying their Messiah. Thus, He convicts us of wrongdoing and convinces us of God's truth.

 

Second, the Spirit convinces us of the righteousness of Christ, which means His complete identity with His Father in Goodness, Justice and Mercy and in the absolute Truth of His teachings and promises, as demonstrated by God His Father Who granted him Resurrection from the dead and Ascension into Heaven. Although Jesus was condemned to death, it was actually Satan, the ruler of this world, who has been condemned through Jesus’ death.

Third, the Holy Spirit gives us the inner and unshakable conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. When we heed God’s judgments, we find true peace, joy and reconciliation with God.

Life message: We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He wishes in and through our lives so that He may set us free from the grip of sin and set us ablaze with the fire of God's love. (Fr. Tony) L/18

 May 9 Wednesday: Jn 16:12-15: 12 "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from the Last Supper discourse in which Jesus instructed his disciples on the role of the Holy Spirit and His relationship with Jesus and God the Father.

 1) First, as the Spirit of Truth, He is the Gift of God Who is the Possessor and the Giver of all truth. It is the Spirit’s role to make the disciples fully understand the truths revealed by Christ. Vatican II teaches that Our Lord "completed and perfected Revelation and confirmed it...finally by sending the Spirit of truth" (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4).

2) By bringing to their minds and clarifying everything Jesus has taught them, the Holy Spirit also will enable them to render glory to God by glorifying His Son Jesus. 
 
Relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son:  Jesus also revealed the mystery of the Blessed Trinity in today’s Gospel passage. He taught that the Three Divine Persons have the same nature: “everything that the Father has belongs to the Son, and everything the Son has belongs to the Father” (cf. John 17:10) and that the Spirit also shares the same Divine Essence with the Father and the Son.
 

Life messages: 1) We need the daily guidance and strengthening of the Holy Spirit in our mission of bearing witness.

 2) We should remember that Faith is a gift.   Hence, we do not gain converts by argument or eloquence, but by praying for them and by radiating, through our living, the Good News that Jesus has died for our sins, has risen for our justification, and offers us a share in his glory. (Fr. Tony) L/18

 May 10 Thursday: The Ascension of the Lord (Mk 16: 15-20): Introduction: Today’s readings describe the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into his Heavenly glory after promising his disciples the Holy Spirit as their source of Heavenly power, and commanding them to bear witness to him by their lives and preaching throughout the world.  But the ascended Jesus is still with us through the indwelling Holy Spirit as he has promised, "I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”   Today’s feast is a celebration of Jesus’ final glorification after his suffering, death and Resurrection – a glory in which we also hope to share.


The Scripture lessons: The first reading gives an account of the event of the Ascension as recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. First, Jesus instructed his apostles to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the baptism by the Holy Spirit so that they might become his “witnesses to the ends of the earth” by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then a cloud took Jesus from the sight of the disciples and two heavenly messengers in white garments gave them the assurance of Jesus’ “second coming” or return in glory. The Refrain for today's Responsorial Psalm (Ps 47), suggests that by his Ascension, the risen Lord "mounts his throne" in glory.  In the second reading, Paul explains the theological meaning of Jesus’ exaltation giving us the assurance that one day, we too will be ascending to Heavenly glory provided we fulfill the mission entrusted to us by the ascending Lord. Today's Gospel describes how Jesus ascended to Heaven after giving his final blessing and missionary command to his disciples. The command was to proclaim the Good News to the whole creation,to be his witnesses," and to make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19).

Life messages: 1) We need to be proclaimers and evangelizers: To be a Christian is to be a proclaimer and an evangelizer.  There is a difference between preaching and proclaiming.  We preach with words, but we proclaim with our lives.  Let us ask the guidance of the Spirit of God to bear witness to Jesus by our transparent Christian lives.

 2) We have a teaching mission:  Jesus taught us lessons of Faith, Hope, Love, forgiveness, mercy and salvation by his life and preaching and gave us the mission to teach these to others.   Hence, let us learn about Jesus and his teachings by our daily study of the Bible and the teachings of the Church, experience him in personal prayer, reception of the Sacraments and works of charity, and convey to others Jesus whom we have experienced with the help of his Holy Spirit. 3) The ascended Jesus is our source of strength and encouragement: We will be able to overcome doubts about our Faith and baseless fears, anxieties and worries by meditating on Jesus’ Ascension and the lesson it teaches, that we, too, are called to share Jesus’ glory in Heaven.  (Fr. Tony) L/18

 May 11 Friday: Jn 16:20-23:: 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. 

 The context: After foretelling his imminent departure following the Last Supper, Jesus tried to boost the morale of his sad and dispirited disciples. First, he consoled them, promising them to send his Holy Spirit as their Paraclete -- Consoler, Guide and Advocate (Attorney). Then, Jesus assured them that his absence would only be temporary.

Contrast between present sorrows and future glory: Jesus compares the temporary pain, sufferings and persecutions of his disciples to the passing, though intense, labor-pains of a woman giving birth to her child. The moment she hears the cry of her child and sees his or her face she forgets all her pain.  In the same way, the "other-worldly" joy waiting for his disciples will transcend all types of earthly joys. 

Life messages: 1) Let us see our pains and suffering as God’s means to strengthen our will and form our character

2) The conviction of the temporary nature of our suffering and of the glory waiting for us if we accept pain and suffering graciously, converting them into willing acts of reparation for sins, will help us to face them heroically.  (Fr. Tony) L/18

 May 12 Saturday: Jn 16: 23-28   23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name. 24 Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. 25 "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."

 The context: Jesus used parables and metaphors, both in teaching the general public and in explaining his teaching to his disciples. Today’s Gospel passage is taken from his last discourse to his disciples after the Last Supper. Here, too, Jesus uses metaphors of a vine and its braches and the simile of a woman giving birth. Now Jesus tells them that he is going to tell them about God, his Father, in plain language.

Jesus explains the mystery of his Incarnation in plain language saying, “I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."  Then he corrects the Jewish misconception of God, his Father, as a judging and punishing God. Jesus tells his apostles that God the Father is a loving and forgiving Father, that they can pray to Him directly in Jesus’ name and that their prayers will be granted because the Father knows that they love His Son, Jesus, and believe in his Divinity. This is the pattern of prayer in the Liturgy.  The Eucharistic prayer is invariably addressed to the Father, “through him (Jesus), with him and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit” All our prayer has the pattern of the Trinity stamped on it. This does not mean that we should never pray to anyone but the Father. We are free to pray to Jesus, Mary and the saints, but always in the full knowledge that the Father is the ultimate Recipient of all prayer – just as the sea receives every stream.

 

 Life messags: 1) God our Father is a loving, merciful and providing God who wants His children to approach Him directly and through His son and our only mediator Jesus.  Hence, let us make our prayers of adoration, praise, thanksgiving and petitions more effective and fruitful by offering them to God our Father through His Son Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit.  (Fr. Tony) L/18