SM Icons

Easter 6th Week, Thursday, May 21st

Acts 18:1-8 / John 16:16-20 
Jesus speaks about his leaving: “In a little while and you will no longer see me” (Jn 16/16)

Someone said hindsight is always 20/20. But hindsight is what you don’t have at the time. In simple matters of fact hindsight is a simple thing: you can see within the hour that you backed the wrong horse – or within seconds that you said the wrong thing. But in deeper matters, hindsight is a slow process of realization. The Holy Spirit gives hindsight on Jesus. This is the Spirit working in us, the patient inner teacher, opening our minds slowly to the light that has long since come into the world. The Spirit guides us (hodegeo) along the way; it is Jesus who is the way (hodos) itself – indeed the truth itself (Jn 14:6).
“The Spirit will guide you into all truth,” that is, all the truth about God. The Son has revealed the Father, and now the Spirit will reveal the Father by revealing the Son. We are being attracted by the Spirit into the inner life of God.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” The disciples to whom these words were addressed had the best of excuses for not having hindsight: the event had not taken place yet. The event was the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. They could not possibly have understood him at that time, except as a remarkable man.
When disciples of any age consider Jesus without the guidance of the Spirit, that is what they find: a remarkable man. There were so many boring things written in the 19th century about the ‘moral excellence’ of Jesus…. This would only get him a place among the Pharisees. It is the Spirit alone that can draw us into the mind of Jesus.
****
The context: In the Last Supper discourse, Jesus tells the Apostles about leaving them in order to return to his Father and about coming again at the end of time to usher in the new age of God’s kingdom. When they start asking each other the meaning of these statements, Jesus explains to them the hardships they will have to face after his departure and the glorious reward waiting for them in his Second Coming. But as he had consoled them earlier, promising to send a Paraclete, now Jesus assures them that his absence is only temporary.

A little while: Jesus is speaking about a three-level disappearance and reappearance.  The first level is Jesus’ death and Resurrection.  The apostles will no longer see Jesus when he dies.  But they will see Jesus again in three days as their risen Lord.  The second level is the mystical level: They will lose sight of Jesus physically when he ascends to the glory of the Father.  But they will see Jesus again in many ways by Faith, when the Holy Spirit comes.  There is also a third level.  Jesus is not now visible physically to the world but will manifest his glory to the whole world when he comes again in glory.  In the light of eternity, a few thousand years are but an instant, a very short while.

Life messages: 1) Let us try to recognize the presence of the living Lord in our midst here and now. 2) Let us ask Him to help us adjust our daily lives accordingly, so that we, too, may inherit the eternal joy prepared for us.  
****
Liturgical Prayers:

Introduction: 
Many people are lamenting because they do not feel the presence of God, particularly in moments of deep sorrow. At the occasion of the death of a beloved person one hears often: "Where is God now? He has deserted us!" It was a thought many Jews expressed during the "Shoah" (holocaust, literally "destruction,"). Yet some tenaciously held on to God, saying that it was God who suffered there at the hands of people.

Penitential Rite:
-The Lord has done wondrous deeds in our lives, for our ingratitude, Lord, have mercy
-He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness in spite of our turning away from him, Christ, have mercy
-In the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice despite our many acts of injustice, Lord, have mercy

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, when we suffer deeply we tend to cry out: "My God, where are you?" Give to us, people who believe that your Son died for us and by your power rose from the dead, a faith deep and strong enough to know that you are with us also in the difficulties and woes of life, even in the throes of death. Give us this faith through Jesus Christ our Lord.

General Intercessions
- For those responsible for our earth, that the Spirit may guide them to respect God's work of creation, its beauty and integrity, we pray:
- For people facing death, that their hope in the resurrection may assure them that God will give them everlasting life, we pray:
- For those who suffer, that they may know that God knows and that the Spirit may turn their pain into joy, we pray:

Prayer over the gifts
Our living and loving God, when the people you had made your own marched through the inhospitable desert, you were there with them and you gave them the manna to eat. Keep us from complaining and murmuring when the difficulties of life come our way. Nourish us in our deserts with today's manna, with the body and blood of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, do not take it amiss when we cry out to you in the deserts of our pains and loneliness. Keep strengthening us with the food and the drink of joy of Jesus. And make us see your presence also in the good people around us, in their words of consolation and hope. Reassure us that you lead us to a joy and a happiness to which there is no end. Grant us this through Christ our Lord.