Easter, 2nd Week,Thursday, Apr 23

Acts 5:27-33 / John 3:31-36 
Jesus speaks about eternal life: Whoever believes has eternal life.

Most people who turn on a television set can’t tell you how the magic box works. But they don’t deny that it works. The picture on the screen tells them that. Most people who drive an automobile can’t tell you how the magic motor works. But they don’t deny that it works. The movement of the car tells them that. Most people who eat food can’t tell you how the magic protein works. But they don’t deny that it works. The growth of the body tells them that. It’s the same way with the Christian life. Most people can’t tell you how faith works. But they don’t deny that it works. Their own transformed lives tell them that.
How do we nourish our life of faith? How often do we nourish it? What keeps us from nourishing it more? The human spirit is like the human body. If we don’t nourish it, it dies.
By the way we speak and also the things we speak about, others will be able to figure out what kind of spiritual orientation we have. And that spiritual orientation is either rooted in God and in the eternal life of heaven, or it may be rooted in the things of earth and in world desires.
In the gospel, John the Baptist made this clear when he said that he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way. But he who come from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard.

In the 1st reading, we can see who is of the earth and who has seen and heard the things of heaven. The chief priest and the Sanhedrin demanded an explanation for what the apostles had done, especially for fixing the guilt of condemning Jesus to death on them. The chief priest and the Sanhedrin seem to be more concerned about their reputation and the opinion of the people. On the other hand, Peter and the apostles declared that obedience to God comes before obedience to men. Furthermore, in obedience to God and with the power of the Holy Spirit in them, they had to bear witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It is not that difficult to see what the spiritual orientation of these two groups and where they are coming from and where they are heading.

What is more difficult for us is to answer the question of our spiritual orientation - Do I pledge obedience to God or do I succumb in obedience to men?

Our answer will tell us where we are from and where we will be heading.
Easter 2nd Week – Thursday - Liturgy

"God has put his Word into the mouth of people in order that it may be communicated to others. When the Word strikes one person, he or she speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek and find his living Word in the witness of a brother or sister, in the mouth of people. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God's Word to him or her." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together) The core of our faith is that we owe a new life to Jesus, in whom we are reborn. The Spirit, whom he gives us without measure, prompts us to bear witness to Jesus and to his new life in us.

Penitential Rite:
-The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him;
-Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
-whoever disobeys the Son will not see life

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, your Son Jesus Christ came from you and bore witness to the things he had heard and seen. He could not but bear witness to you. Give us the Spirit of your Son, we pray you, to speak your word and to live it, that we may show Christ, your living Word, to those who have not seen him. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

General Intercessions
- That Christians may be ready to obey God more and to be led by his Spirit than to do what people want us to do, we pray:
- That our Christian communities may be inspired by the Holy Spirit to live the risen life of Christ consistently, we pray:
- That we may me more aware that eternal life is already in us when even now we believe that Christ is already raising us up to a deeper, richer life, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, it is not comfortable to be a witness for it demands that, like Jesus, your Son, we live by the truth and be ready to meet opposition. Give us the spirit of strength of your Son, nourish us with his body and blood, and when we fail in our mission, let there be enough love found, at least in our communities,  to speak of the love and the truth which Christ brought us, your Son and our Lord forever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we have listened to your Son, the living Word that you speak to us, and we have shared his table. By the power of the Spirit alive in us, may we in turn speak to one another and to the world your liberating word. May we possess this word most deeply when we have given it to others. We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life." Yes, we believe in Jesus, but we believe with an active faith, a faith that translates our belief into action, into life. That is a deep form of witnessing to Christ. May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.