“The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power” 

In this week of Easter we continue to let the joy of the Easter Season deepen in us. Perhaps we ask bigger questions.  Perhaps we let the good news of the gift of new life enter into those places where we struggle.

We are listening to the story of the early community's recognition of the presence of the Holy Spirit with gentiles.  And, we hear the rest of Jesus’ last words to his disciples at his last supper with them. In the fifteenth chapter of John's gospel we read some of the deepest things Jesus says directly to us. We can hear him now, with the faith of the resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is a week when we can begin to long for and pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Easter's blessings come alive when we let them deeper into the reality of our everyday lives and when it leads to a deeper desire for the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us and among us.

Grant, almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy,
which we keep in honor of the risen Lord,
and that what we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.

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 Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

As the prayer says, that in "these days of joy,"
"we relive in remembrance" with a desire 
to hold to it "in what we do."

Peter and the others marvel that the Holy Spirit is given to Gentiles
and they are faithful to the Spirit's lead.

Jesus tells us to "love one another as I love you."

We can reflect today, asking for an openness to the work of the Spirit 
within us and among us, and that we will be faithful to the Spirit's lead.
And, we can ask for the grace to really appreciate and be grateful for
how much our Lord has loved us, so that we can ask for a grace
to live out that same love for our brothers and sisters.

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain. John 15

 

Intercessions: 

God the almighty Father raised Jesus as the firstborn from the dead, and made him our Savior. 
Let us call upon him, saying:

Give us, Lord, the glory of your Son.

All-holy Father, you brought your beloved Son Jesus from the darkness of death into the splendor of your glory,
- bring us also into your marvelous light.

You have given us faith to save us,
- may we live by the faith of our baptism.

You command us to seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at your right hand,
- do not let us be deceived by the allurements of sin.

May our life, hidden with Christ in you, our Father, shine before the world,
- foreshadowing a new heaven and a new earth. 

 

Closing Prayer: 

My brother, Jesus,
It is hard for me to comprehend that you chose me. 
I know how flawed and imperfect I really am,
and yet each day you choose me again as your friend.

You call me to love others in the same way you love me.
That is where the faith you have given me 
offers me the hope to believe that you pour out your love on me.
Bring me into your marvelous light
and help me to be fruitful in this world and to care for those
who are forgotten and discarded. 
Help me to love as you love.

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

The Living Word

“It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities” (Acts 15: 28).

The followers were divided.  Jesus was no longer among them as before.  He had taught them and the Spirit was sent to strengthen them, but conflicts arose as they always do.  This new time will not unfold like flowers in spring.  To seek unity, they gathered to pray, listen, and discern.  Should Gentiles follow the same laws as Jews in the Christian movement?  Who are we?  Identity questions send us back to our roots and into our future to ask: what really matters?  What is at the center?  What is at the periphery?  How is the Spirit leading us? The Council of Jerusalem was the first of many.  A council’s task is not primarily one of molding a compromise that all can accept.  The deeper issue is identity.  Where is the center?  Does it hold us together?

Pope Francis announced a synod on the family.  Catholics around the world responded to questions, the bishops traveled to Rome twice for deliberation.  They did not meet online.  As in the first gathering of Christians, they met face to face.  Looking back over this long history, Pope Francis observes in Amoris Laetitia(The Joy of Love):

“There are two ways of thinking which recur throughout the Church’s history: casting off and reinstating.  The Church’s way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem, has always been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement…The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone forever; it is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart… For true charity is always unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous” (296).

We seek to understand the world as followers of Christ.  Intelligent affirmation contributes to the practice of faith.  But understanding depends on being present to the persons in our lives.  The practice of faith begins and ends with persons.  Here we find the face of God.  Judging happens in the middle, not as the gatekeeper to sort out the elect but as encouragement and direction.  The Spirit teaches, but not all truths rush in at once.  In this house, the gates remain open.  The Word belongs to all.  It puts down roots in many soils.

Who are the sheep?  The goats?  Whom do we cast off?  Often those who labor with their hands are barely seen.  Who is it that picks the fruit, sews the clothes, paves the highways, or assembles the phones?  To lessen someone’s burdens, first we must see them.  We are the children of a carpenter’s son.  Today we remember those whose labor makes our lives possible.

God, you are the first to reach out.  You love us where we are found.  This is how we are freed.

by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department 
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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