7th Sunday of Easter-Cycle A-2017
FIRST READING Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14
After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
SECOND READING 1 Peter 4:13-16
Beloved: Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name.
GOSPEL John 17:1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Now the Ascension has happened. The followers of Jesus wait for the Holy Spirit. They had no idea what the Holy Spirit would mean in their lives. The simply waited and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come. This is the way for all of us: wait and pray for the Holy Spirit.
The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles and tells us about the return of the followers of Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Upper Room, where they were staying. This reading mentions a “sabbath day’s journey.” We no longer think in those terms but for the early followers of Jesus, the Jewish Law was still very important. The point of this reading is simply that these followers of Jesus were gathering in the Upper Room and praying. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and some other women, are also there with the followers.
The second reading today is from the First Letter of Peter. This one short passage tells us about our life as followers of Jesus: “Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.”
We never know what sufferings will come into our lives. This second of the First Letter of Peter warns us that we should not be suffering because we are murderers, thieves, evildoers, or intriguers! Rather we must suffer simply for trying to follow the Lord Jesus.
The Gospel today is from the Gospel of John and tells us this: I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.” The Father has given us all to His Son. The world might perish, but Jesus will be with each one of us—if we let Him be there. We are called to a deeper faith. We are called to believe in the Holy Spirit, who guides us and directs us in our daily lives.
Jesus is glorified in us. That is to say: you and I are capable of showing the glory of God to others by our faith. We may be sinners. We are sinners. Yet Jesus is still with us and saves us. This is the miracle of salvation: God sent His Son to save sinners, not to condemn us. The more we can believe in this, the more open we become to the transformation that the Lord may want in us. Let us spend time today asking for the Holy Spirit, pleading with the Lord to save us in all we do. We cannot save ourselves! There is no good action that we can do that will bring us salvation. Only faith in the Lord Jesus gives us salvation. Lord, have mercy on us!
Your brother in the Lord,