“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit” 

The wonderful story of the early church continues this week in Acts of the Apostles. We read of Paul and Barnabas preaching the good news to Gentiles. A major shift occurs after much discussion among the apostles and they pray for guidance: should Gentiles become Jews before becoming Christians? Peter declared that Jews and Gentiles are both "saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus."

The weekday gospels continue with John's nuanced words reminding us again not to be troubled or afraid, but to remain in the love of Jesus. It is that message that we pray with this week as we continue our Easter celebration, filled with the joy of hearing Jesus tell us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you."

Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us,
that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism
may, under your protective care, bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life eternal.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers. Acts 9

We should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us. 1 John 3

I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing. John 15

Jesus gives us another powerful image of our relationship with him.
We are as connected to Jesus as a branch is to its vine.
And, the only way we can bear fruit is to remain connected with him.

We know the many things which threaten that connection.
At times, we really feel that we are withering, cut off from the real source of our life.

Today we reflect on this mystery, and its reality in our lives today.
And, we ask for the grace to remain in Jesus and to let him remain in us
so that we might bear much fruit, together with him.

Remain in me, as I remain in you. John 15

 

Intercessions: 

Christ is the Lord of life, raised up by the Father; in his turn he will raise us up by his power. Let us pray to him, saying:

Christ our life, save us.

Lord Jesus, light shining in the darkness, you lead your people into life, and give our mortal nature the gift of holiness, 
- may we spend this day in praise of your glory.

Lord, you walked the way of suffering and crucifixion, 
- may we suffer and die with you, and rise again to share your glory.

Son of the Father, our master and our brother, you have made us a kingdom of priests for our God,
- may we offer you our joyful sacrifice of praise.

King of glory, we look forward to the great day of your coming in splendor, 
- that we may see you face to face, and be transformed in your likeness. 

Closing Prayer: 

God of Easter Joy,
in these weeks after your resurrection,
I long to be in your protective care.
Give me the courage to allow you into my life
to let you love me - so I can remain in you..

As I pray with the image of the vine and the branch,
I know I want to hold tightly to you and grow in you.
With the guidance of your Holy Spirit,
give me the consolation of being fruitful 
so I can spread the joy of your gospel
to all those around me.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

 
 
Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

During my grade school years I loved being a Camp Fire Girl.  The meetings, the field trips and the camping were all so much fun.  And I’ll always remember my 10th birthday when my dad, who collaborated with the local baker to design a cake with significance for each of our birthdays, surprised me at our troop meeting with my birthday cake in the shape of the Camp Fire logo.  But I really enjoyed working my way through the Camp Fire handbook to explore topics and build skills.  For every activity I would earn a colorful wooden bead.  But it was the activity itself that had meaning to me:  plan and host a child’s birthday party, teach a young child about the solar system, help your family have a safety plan for a tornado.  The possibilities seemed endless and I was always looking for the next opportunity to serve.  My Camp Fire vest sporting a vast array of my earned beads hangs in my home office and brings back a flood of memories whenever I glance at it. 

Today’s gospel from John strikes me as the opposite of my Camp Fire Handbook in its simplicity.  Jesus gives us one commandment:  love one another.  There it is.  There is no need for multiple tabs and reference books.  No need for strategy sessions.  Or perhaps there is a need for a certain kind of strategy which is to be ever aware of God’s love for us so we can love one another.  Such a simple and such a demanding commandment.
Jesus goes on to say that having love for one another is how he will know who his disciples are.  My understanding of discipleship continues to grow and in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we learn of Paul and Barnabas making a considerable number of disciples.  They supported the disciples by reminding them to persevere in faith which can be very challenging at times.  We all as disciples need to be reminded of the Lord’s commandment:  love one another as I have loved you.  Listening for and appreciating the love of God allows us to live the commandment to love others.

So my prayer with today’s readings calls me to discipleship and to a renewed commitment to follow the commandment to love one another.  The responsibility of this commandment feels overwhelming.  And then I realized I can learn from my Camp Fire Girl experience.  I was able to thrive in those years because I was loved.  I knew I was loved by my family and my friends.  And because of that love I was able to love myself.  I know now this love was (and is) a tremendous gift from God.  The activities I selected from the Handbook were specific ways to show love for others:  take a younger sibling to the library, write a letter to a grandparent, cook a meal for your family. 

Today I am called to appreciate God’s love for me and in that appreciation show love to others in simple and meaningful ways.  A challenge I continually face is to stay in the present and meet others where they are.  How can I really hear what someone is trying to say?  How can I show patience for someone who is getting in the way of my goal?  How can I help someone feel the ever present love of God?  Sometimes showing love for another is so easy to do and sometimes it is the last thing I want to do.  Being guided by the Lord’s commandment to love one another as I have loved you is better than a vest filled with beads.

by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Werner Institute
click here for photo and information about the writer


Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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