Easter, 7th Week, Wednesday, May 27th

Acts 20:28-38 / John 17:11-19 
Jesus prays for his disciples: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.”

A legend says that when Jesus ascended into heaven, the angel Gabriel asked him if all the people on earth knew about God’s love for them. “Oh, no!” said Jesus, “just a handful of people do.” Gabriel was shocked and replied, “But, Lord, what if this handful of people let you down? What if they meet with opposition and become discouraged? Don’t you have a back-up plan, just in case?” “No,” said Jesus, “I’m simply counting on them not to let me down.”

How is Jesus’ expectation being realized in us? “I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help him.” Hudson Taylor
Blood has great significance in the Bible. Its meanings involve profound aspects of human life and God's desire to transform human existence. Blood is intimately associated with physical life. Blood and “life” or “living being” are closely associated. To say that something is bought with blood does not merely mean that a quantity of blood is exchanged for that item. To buy something with blood means to say a life is given up in exchange for that item.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul told the elders of the church of Ephesus that the Church of God is bought with the blood of Christ. Jesus Christ offered His life on the cross so that we, the Church, can be redeemed from our sins and saved from eternal death. St. Paul didn't have to shed his blood for the church of Ephesus or for any of the churches at that time. But he did shed tears over each of them. It was an expression of how much he loved and cared for them as he foresaw the dangers they will be facing. St. Paul shed tears and would have prayed to the Lord Jesus to protect the Church.

And in the gospel, Jesus said that He will keep watch over each of us and that no one would be lost, except when we choose to be lost.

We are not asked to pour out our blood for the salvation for others. Yet like St Paul we must also shed tears and pray for our salvation and the salvation of others.

Tears, together with prayers, are the lens we need to see Jesus.

One of the much-used songs in Church today says, “there’s joy in giving.” In his farewell address, Jesus said to his apostles that he wanted to share his joy with them to the full. And Paul, speaking from his own experience, says that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. The Lord and the apostles gave themselves to others. How far can we do this? And what a joy it would be if we could all be one!

Penitential Rite
-Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock because savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock, says Paul. For our lack of vigilance, LHM
-I have shown you that by hard work we must help the weak, says Paul. For laziness, CHM
-There is more happiness in giving than receiving, says Paul. For our lack of generosity, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord, our God, your Son Jesus, gave himself totally to those he loved—that is, to all. Give us a bit of his unselfish love that we too, may learn from experience
that there is more joy in giving ourselves than in receiving honors or favors. May the Spirit make us also one that we graciously share with one another our God-given riches and gifts as persons. We ask you …

General Intercessions
–    God, who loves us all in Jesus your Son, let the Holy Spirit unite us as people who accept and love one another, we pray:
–    God, unite in your Son Jesus all Churches who claim him as their Lord and Savior, we pray:
–    God, let your Spirit give us an attitude of total acceptance and appreciation for one another, we pray:

Check your titles at the door, shed that honored name. Servants had you by the score? Here you face the same questions as the chambermaid free from her travail. Wealth and power are not weighed on the Master's scale.
Did you ever make a lap for an orphaned child?
When the footman dropped your wrap, was your answer mild?
Did you think that pride of place would survive the end?
Upstairs, downstairs, muslin, lace this fine day must blend.

God of power and might, free us from self concern so that we may be more sensitive to the needs of others. In dedicating our self to your will, we ask for the gift of abundant love; may it fill this earthen vessel and flow out upon your children, our anguished brothers and sisters. For their sakes, consecrate us in compassion.   Amen.

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, our God, your Son was close to people, as he is close to you now in the Eucharist. Give us his Spirit that we too, may be close to those you have entrusted to us, full of attention and understanding, not drawing attention to ourselves, but to him who is in our midst and who makes us one in all our diversity, Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
God, it is not shameful to be human and to feel for others. This was your Son’s way. Let it also be ours. Give us a deep sympathy for people, that we may listen to them, learn to understand them and to take them as they are, as your Son takes us as we are to raise us above ourselves and to lead us to you, our God for ever.