7th Sunday of Easter-Cycle B-2018

FIRST READING            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.

SECOND READING                  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                John 17:11b-19

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.”

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

The Lord has ascended and now prepares to send the Holy Spirit upon us with power.  We must have hearts that are open to receive this power of the Holy Spirit.  We must have hearts that believe deeply in Jesus Christ and in his Holy Church.  We want to be transformed more completely so that God’s glory may be seen on earth.

The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles.  The followers of Jesus are now replacing the Judas who betrayed Jesus.  There is a sense that the group of Twelve Apostles must remain as a group of twelve and so Judas who betrayed Jesus must be replaced.  Later this sense of the group of twelves transforms itself into the bishops of the Church.  Then it is no longer just twelve, but all who share the same burden as the twelve:  that of being shepherds of the various parts of the Church.

The second reading today is from the First Letter of Saint John.  It should not surprise us at all that this section of the First Letter of Saint John is about loving one another.  Saint John tells us:  “If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.”  If we love one another….  That is the constant theme:  love one another.  How do we know that we love one another?  We know that we love one another because He has given us His Spirit.  This is why we await the great celebration of Pentecost.  We want to celebrate once more that Jesus has given us His Spirit and in that Spirit we have the power to love one another.

Today’s Gospel is from Saint John.  Saint John tells us today:  “May they be one just as we are one.”  That is so strong that we can hardly believe it.  The Father and the Son are ONE.  Jesus wants us to be one with one another.  It sounds so wonderful, but when we look at other people, we are never sure that we want to be one with them.  Our human reality pushes up against divinity and often we choose our human reality instead of choosing divinity!

Only the Spirit of God can transform us and truly make us one.  Only when we choose to live in the Spirit can we choose to live in truth.  Only be asking the Spirit to be in our lives and to guide our lives can we truly be followers of the Lord Jesus.  We want to live in truth and we can only do that when we call on the Spirit to transform us totally in this life.  Come, Holy Spirit!

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip