Easter 6th Week, Monday, May 18th

Acts 16:11-15 / John 15:26 - 16:4 
Jesus instructs his disciples: “You must bear witness on my behalf.”

A witness is someone who can say, “I know what I am talking about from personal experience.” Thus, Christian witness involves two things:
(1) a burning internal conviction about Jesus and
(2) a convincing external expression of this conviction.

The more burning the internal conviction, the more convincing the external expression. And how does one’s conviction about Jesus begin and develop?
The answer is, “By a personal experience of Jesus.”
And how does this come about? It comes about by opening our heart to Jesus and letting him fill it with his risen presence.
What are we doing to open our heart to Jesus’ risen presence? “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house.” Revelation 3:20
To talk about religion with someone is not exactly a comfortable conversational topic these days especially with our current political scenario. Furthermore, to talk about it with another Catholic may not be any easier than to talk about it with a non-Catholic. Whoever it might be, we prefer to talk about how hot the weather is, where to find the best food, the price of COE or whatever. Yet, one of the most profound ways for God to move the hearts of people is through the sharing of our experience of Jesus.  That is one of the ways of witnessing. That was what St. Paul did in the 1st reading.  Through preaching the Good News and sharing the experience of Jesus, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to accept what St. Paul was saying.  Of course, not everyone will accept what we say or what we share about Jesus.   Yet, if people do listen, it is because the Lord had opened their hearts, and the Spirit of truth has guided them. The Spirit needs us as His instruments and His mouthpiece.  May the Spirit of truth make us willing to open our mouths so that others will be willing to open their hearts.

Easter, Monday 6th Week

We should not regret that the octave of Pentecost has been abolished. In the two weeks from now to Pentecost our attention is focused on the Spirit. Either the readings or the prayers, or both speak of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was the faithful witness of the Father who showed us in terms understandable for people what God is like, but it cost him his life. Through his Spirit, he will make his apostles witnesses too. They have seen, so they MUST speak. They believe, so they MUST speak and act. The Spirit will make them afraid of nothing and nobody. Every Christian is called to be such a witness.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God, if we really believe in you and in your Son, we cannot be but witnesses. Send us your Spirit of strength, that we may give no flimsy excuses for not standing up for you and for the love and rights of our neighbor. Make us only afraid of betraying you and people and of being afraid to bear witness.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.

General Intercessions
- Lord, send your Spirit to your Church, that without fear it may bear witness to you that you are risen, we pray:
- Lord, Lord let your Spirit come down on our communities, that we may understand your good news better, we pray:
- Lord, give us your Spirit, that he may teach us to pray from the heart, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God, our Father, your Son Jesus said: "No one takes my life from me; it is I who give it freely." As he is with us now, may he give us his Holy Spirit that we may bear witness to him without fear
and that our deeds more than our words may show that we believe in Jesus Christ and that we love him, for he is our Lord for ever.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God, we pray you also for the strength of your Spirit so that we can be ashamed witnesses against the unjust conditions we have perhaps helped to create. Make us absolutely honest with ourselves, that we may become liberated persons who bring the freedom of your Son Jesus Christ to the people and the world around us. May our witnessing lead our brothers and sisters to believe that your Son is alive in our midst now and for ever.
Persecution looms for those who follow Jesus. His message is counter-cultural, and is offensive to those who are of this world. Because Jesus met with opposition from the established powers, so too can we expect to meet resistance in living out the faith.
Since the beginning of the Church, a thin red line of martyrs' blood has borne witness to Jesus' promise that persecution and death awaits his followers. Though we might not be called to wear the crown of martyrdom, we are still expected to live our faith in a conspicuous manner, even if that brings us hardship or difficulty.

The Lord sustains all who place their trust in Him.