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Scripture Reflections - May 24
Seventh Sunday of Easter

Acts 1:12-14
1 Peter 4:13-16
John 17:1-11a

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

As the days passed after the Resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles were getting used to their fleeting glimpses of the Risen Christ, appearing here and there so dramatically. He had pretty much cured their depression following the horrible crucifixion on Calvary by finally convincing them that He was alive! They never knew when He would appear next with new commands to preach the Good News everywhere. Now, He suddenly ascends into the air before their eyes, and is lost to sight in the clouds. They must have thought in dismay, “He’s left us again!” So, what did they do? It was one thing to label themselves followers of the Christ when He was not too far away. It was quite another to think of facing the Jewish leaders without his earthly presence. Still shaken at his seeming abandonment, they withdrew together to that upper room to pray and ponder what He had taught them. Wisely, they kept near his mother, Mary in those nine days of waiting for the Holy Spirit.

They must have remembered what Jesus had said to them: “If you really love me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father.” In other words, I have a better way to remain with you. I will live in you and in the Church through my Spirit and in my Vicar. And did they remember his wonderful farewell address in that same upper room just a few weeks before at that strange, sacred meal the night before He died? Did they now understand the reason for his promise of the Spirit and his Institution of the Eucharist?

And they gather in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in the Cenacle that held such precious memories, there to await the promised Paraclete. He will teach them everything they need to know to spread the Good News to all the world. The Spirit will also fill them with the courage to be bold and fearless, ready for whatever will await them, even for martyrdom.

Like the Apostles, we need to prepare ourselves this week for a renewal of all those gifts we received at our confirmation. We must not act as though He’s not present. He is present. His being present in the Spirit is far more powerful than his earthly presence would have been. We must go simply and deliberately into our souls daily – into the core of our being – and there listen to Him in silence. Then, strengthened by His grace, we can confidently go about our Mission. We need that grace more than ever in these critical days the coronavirus!

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