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Easter 6th Week, Saturday, May 23rd

Acts 18:23-28 / John 16:23-28 
Jesus gives final instructions: “Ask and you will receive.”

An amusing cartoon showed a tiny insect peering up at a huge insect. After staring at the huge insect for a while, the tiny insect said, “What kind of a bug are you?”
“I’m a praying mantis,” came the reply. “That’s absurd!” said the tiny insect. “Bugs don’t pray!” With that, the praying mantis grabbed the little bug around the throat and began to squeeze. The bug’s eyes began to bulge.
Then, rolling its eyeballs heavenward, the tiny bug screamed, “Lord, help me!” Many people are like that tiny bug. They ignore—even ridicule—the idea of prayer. But the first time they get into trouble, they look heavenward and scream, “Lord, help me!”
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What kind of a prayer habit do we have? “He who recovers from sickness forgets about God.”  Ethiopian proverb
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When we think of ourselves as just one individual in a world of billions of people, we may think of ourselves as insignificant. Yet, when we think of ourselves as a person that God has created and put into a specific time and place, then we will realize that we are unique and that nothing happens by coincidence. In fact everything happens with and for a reason, and with faith we will be able to see that everything happens to put together God's plan.

In the 1st reading, we heard of the appearance of an Alexandrian Jew by the name of Apollos. What was his background we were not told? And later on, he would move on and there will no mention of him again. Yet, his being there at that particular time had an impact on the missionary work of the early Church and he would be in the forefront of the proclamation of the Good News.

Yes, by the grace of God, Apollo helped the believers considerably by the energetic way he preached about Jesus Christ.

Similarly for us, we too must realize that we walk this way but once. And along this way, God's grace is poured onto us so that our earthly existence can have a spiritual significance.
As Jesus urged us in the gospel, let us ask God our Father for this grace to see the significance of our existence.

We exist for the glory of God; and the glory of God is man fully alive. May we be alive with the grace of God and bring that grace into the world.
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Saturday of 6th Week of Easter 

PRAYING IN JESUS´ NAME GOD´S WILL 

Introduction
When we pray, what do we want God to do? Do we want to transform God with our prayers and bend him to do our own will, or do we seek his will? Do we have time in the dialogue of prayer to listen to him? Do we realize that he speaks to us in his word, in Christ, in the Gospel? And that he speaks to us in our personal history, the events of life, in people around us? If we pray in the name of Christ, it should be with Christ’s attitude of openness to God and his will. 

Opening Prayer
Lord, our God, when we pray to you in the name of Jesus, your Son, give us also his attitude. May we not seek ourselves in prayer nor try to force you to do our will, so that we can enjoy our self-made islands of peace. Make us restless to seek your will and to commit ourselves into your hands, as Jesus your Son did, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

Commentary
Can you imagine being a Christian without being baptized? Well, it happened in the case of Apollos, and older disciples in the early church as well (Acts 19:1-7). This incomplete incorporation may be an oblique indication of the respect accorded the life and ministry of John the Baptist, a fact also noted by the Jewish historian Josephus. In the case of Apollos and the other disciples mentioned in Acts of the Apostles, the absence of baptism is quickly remedied and full incorporation granted. In our day baptism is held to be important, but it’s true meaning is often laid aside. It very often has social significance and little more. Yet this sacrament’s importance is strongly underscored in the scriptures. Its reception calls for commitment on the part of the baptized or, in the case of an infant, the parents. Baptism is the key to eternity and the door to the church’s spiritual riches. We wonder how it could have been by passed, as in the case of Apollos. At the same time, we should be equally distraught by its casual acceptance today. Our prayers at Mass are directed to God the Father through or in the name of Jesus, his Son. And this is the way we are told to offer prayer in today’s Gospel. Jesus insists on his intermediary role. To offer prayer in Jesus’ name is to accord him his rightful place in the order of faith. No one else is ever given such an exalted position. But with the recognition of Jesus as Lord, and, as in John’s Gospel, to be called God, he is placed on equal footing in nature with the Father himself. The person praying already loves the Son and for that fact is already loved by the Father. As both a grace and commitment, baptism links us with Christ. We can now address the Father as “Abba,” as Jesus did, and pray in the name of Jesus, our brother. 

Points to Ponder
The importance of baptism
The esteem for John’s baptism
Praying to God in Jesus’ name 

Intercessions
– When we see so much injustice, abuse of power, lack of love in our world and even in the Church, let your Spirit keep us from discouragement, we pray:
– When there are many men and women who expect from us encouragement and hope, may the Spirit make us speak uplifting words, we pray:
– When our communities are lax and divided, may the Spirit unite us and restore our fervor and joy, we pray: 

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, at times we get tired of praying, perhaps because it reminds us that we are not self-sufficient. Help us to ask you not so much to give us the things that we may think we need, but to teach us to give ourselves to you and to others, as Jesus did and still does now to us, he who is our Lord for ever. 

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, there are times when prayer comes easy and when we can open our hearts to you. This may be very helpful to us, but help us also to make time for you when praying is not easy, that we may listen to you when you speak to us in your Word and in people, and in the events of life that spell your loving will to us, but make us listen especially to your Son, your living word here among us, Jesus Christ, our Lord for ever. 

Blessing

We are sure that God loves us and that he will give us anything good we need and ask in the name of Jesus. May God give you that certainty of faith and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.