May 18 Monday (St. John I, Pope, Martyr):
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-john-i/ : 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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
Context: In his final discourse with the apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus assured them that he would not desert them. Instead, a powerful Divine Helper in the form of the Holy Spirit would come to them from Jesus and the Father 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 Jesus’ 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) Establishing the murder of Jesus’ followers (“heretics”), as 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
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.
May 19 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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
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 friend, guide, consoler 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 is the Holy Spirit Who will prick the hearts of the Jews on the day of Pentecost, convicting them of their sin of crucifying their Messiah. In the same way, He convicts us of wrongdoing and convinces us of God’s truth. Second, the Spirit convinces us of the righteousness of Christ, which means that that Jesus was right in his teachings and promises, as proved by God His Father Who granted him Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. Although Jesus was condemned to death, it was actually Satan, the ruler of this world, who was 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 release us from the grip of sin and set us ablaze with the fire of God’s love. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
May 20 Wednesday (St. Bernadine of Sienna, Priest);
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-bernardine-of-siena/ (Cath online video: https://youtu.be/DG_-KCeJTrg?)list=PL58g24NgWPIzvBk2IQVES_xC4WTm6-CDI : 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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
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, the Holy Spirit 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 will also 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 reveals the mystery of the Blessed Trinity in today’s Gospel passage, saying 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 message: 1) We need the daily guidance and strengthening of the Holy Spirit in our mission of bearing witness. 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) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20
[Note: If the Feast of the Ascension is transferred from Thursday May 21, 2020 to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24, 2020, on Thursday, May 21, 2020, the readings will be Acts 18:1-8; Responsorial Psalm (98; Gospel Jn 16:16-20; see Ordo]
May 21 Thursday (The Ascension of the Lord): Matthew 28: 16-20:
Introduction: Today’s readings describe the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into his Heavenly glory after promising the Apostles that He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon them as their source of Heavenly power, and commanding them to bear witness to him by their lives and by preaching the Good News 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’ glory after his suffering and death – a glory in which we also hope to share. http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
The scripture lessons: The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes the scene of Jesus’ Ascension, promise of the Holy Spirit, and instruction to the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the Power from above. In the second reading, St. Paul prays that the Spirit of the ascended Christ may enliven the hope of Christ’s disciples in their future heavenly glory, saying, “May God enlighten the eyes of our heart so that we may know the great hope to which we have been called.” Paul also teaches us that God revealed His might in the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and in exalting Jesus over all angelic forces. Today’s Gospel tells us that, with his return to the Father, Jesus completed his mission on earth. But just before his Ascension, he entrusted to his disciples the mission of preaching and teaching the Good News and evangelizing the whole world by bearing witness to him through their lives. In the descriptions of Christ after his Resurrection, we are given a hint of what life will be like in Heaven. But it is in his Ascension that we see him entering fully into the life and glory of God. The prospect of sharing in that glory should be the driving force of our lives.
Life messages: 1) We need to be proclaimers and evangelizers: To be a Christian is to be an evangelizer — both preaching with words and proclaim with our lives the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let us ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit 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 Jesus in personal prayer, reception of the Sacraments and works of charity, and, with the help of his Holy Spirit, convey to others Jesus whom we have experienced. 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 learning the lesson it teaches that we, too, are called to share Jesus’ glory in Heaven.
May 21 Thursday☹ If the Feast of the Ascension is transferred from Thursday May 21, 2020 ) Jn 16:16-20: 16 “A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, `because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said, “What does he mean by `a little while’? We do not know what he means.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him; so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, `A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? 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.
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. (frtonyshomilies.com) L/2019.
May 22 Friday (St. Rita of Cascia):
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-rita-of-cascia/ (Cath online video https://youtu.be/sXdnVjyoxZ4?list=PL58g24NgWPIzvBk2IQVES_xC4WTm6-CDI) : 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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/
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 message: 1) Let us see our pains and suffering as God’s means to strengthen our will and form our character. 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 heroically whatever God permits.
May 23 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 teachings to the apostles. Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Jesus’ last discourse with his disciples at their Last Passover Supper together. Here, too, Jesus uses metaphors of a vine and its branches 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 Jesus corrects the Jewish misconception of God, his Father, as a judging and punishing God, telling the apostles that God the Father is a loving and forgiving Father, to Whom they can pray directly (“Abba!”) 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 message: 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) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/20