“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his searching glance is on mankind.”
(Psalm 11: 4)
This Gospel passage from John is Christian community at its best!---intimate, honest, gently chiding, mutually challenging, always helping each other reach for DEEPER clarity of commitment and purity of intention.
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17: 20-23)
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth” (JN 17: 18-19)
Do you sometimes feel alone in this world? Do you feel that you struggle in a world where there seems to be so much darkness and pain? As human beings these can all be natural feelings especially when one is trying to lead a life of holiness.
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples that he had come to do the Father’s will. He had now accomplished his mission. Everything has gone according to the Father’s plan. He had to suffer, he had to die and on the third day rise again. In His name repentance and forgiveness of sins has to be preached to all nations till the ends of the earth. Yes, his mission is accomplished but theirs is just beginning.
In today’s first reading, we hear of Apollos from Alexandria. It says he is an eloquent speaker….an “authority on the Scriptures.” He was a well known teacher with many followers. He taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. So when he began to teach, two women – Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.”
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him to the tribunal, saying, “This man is inducing people to worship God contrary to the law.” (Acts 18:12-13)
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“A little while and you will no longer see me,
and again a little while later and you will see me.” (John 16:16)
In today’s reading from Acts, Paul is speaking to the Athenaians. Among the many shrines they had dedicated to various gods, Paul had come across one that was addressed to an unknown God. I think this is a good way to sum up every individual.
Meet Cornelius: ONE account says he’s that Roman soldier thrusting his sword into Christ’s side at the crucifixion.
Meet Cornelius AGAIN: He’s an enthusiastic Christian disciple---he and all his family, their gratitude spilling over with utmost confidence in Christ’s resurrection.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.
"The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14:26)
“Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘No Slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you!”
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Laws are important in our life in the world. There are laws of gravity that help me from jumping of a ten story building. Laws help us live together without hurting one another. We stop at red lights so we aren't hit by the car coming in the other direction. We have laws about buying and selling food and clothes and houses.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me".
If you asked most people if they were in favor of peace, they would say yes. I think the world views peace as ‘if you don’t offend me, I won’t offend you, and then everyone will be okay.’ However, there is a problem with this view of peace. As Christians, we believe that everyone’s individual way is NOT okay, unless it is in line with God’s word.
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
“Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name–
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.” (JN 14:21-26)
"When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.” (JN 13:31-33A, 34-35)
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles." (Acts 13: 46)
In our reading from Acts, Paul is telling the story of Jesus, or as he refers to it, “this word of salvation,” to the people in the synagogue. He tells how the leaders did not recognize how Jesus was the Mesiah, and how they condemned him to die even though He had done no wrong.
Today is the feast of St. Mark. Like everybody else, I knew that Mark was one of the four Evangelist but really, little else.
It seems Mark was born in Libya--in Cyrene. If you look on the map that is a good distance from Jerusalem but by all accounts he was one of the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out to preach the good news. He was not one of the original twelve, although related to St. Barnabas who was.
Come creator spirit, visit my thoughts. Fill my soul with heavenly Grace. You are called Advocate, presence of God, fount of life, fire, love, my guest and spiritual anointing. Isaiah is seven gifts, the writer of the law, the father's sure promise inspiring my words. Awaken my senses, filled my heart with passion. strengthen my body with firm and lasting virtue.