Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers—there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place–He said, “My brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: May another take his office. “Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
1 John 4:11-16
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world. Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any ore than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 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.”
Jesus has gone up to heaven. We still receive His teaching in His Word and in His Spirit. These days are deeply important in calling on the Spirit to deepen us in faith and in living that faith in love.
The Acts of the Apostles today tells us of the choice of Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. There is some sense that the number of the apostles must be kept. This does not seem to last long in the early Church. Rather the Church begins to recognize that the office of apostle can be passed along to more than just twelve. Nevertheless, the office of apostle is important and we hear it echoed throughout all of the New Testament.
The First Letter of John today tells us that we know that we remain in Him and He is us because He has given us of His Spirit. Today we must pray that this Spirit come upon us even more strongly so that we are strengthened, as were His early followers, to give witness and testimony, even to the point of seeming foolish.
John’s Gospel today contains that wonderful prayer of Jesus: keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. What an incredible prayer for us! That we may be one! So much one that we are one just as the Father and His Son are one! Beyond anything that we could imagine. Yet we must pray for this gift of unity.
The Church is what unites us because the Church is Christ present in our world. We so often see only the blemishes, the sinfulness, the scandals, the brokenness. So many saints have been able see all of that and still recognize that the Church is Christ present in our world. That is a grace of the Holy Spirit for which we can pray.
The Church is you and me. The Church is all of us united with the Pope of Rome and with the bishops in communion with Him. The Church is you and me, accepting the teachings that have been handed and the teachings that are still given to us. The Church is Christ incarnated in our world today.
May we have a special gift of the Spirit so that we can see Christ suffering in His Church for the salvation of us all.