Acts 6:1-7; Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19, 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12
There are many themes a person could follow in these readings. All of the New Testament writings were penned after Pentecost. That is when 120 men and women, the inner circles around Jesus were set on fire with boldness and conviction. They were then empowered to continue the work of Jesus throughout the whole world. The Church Jesus founded has been about this since the first Pentecost. There are always Christians to be deepened in their faith and new people to bring into the treasures of God.
Today’s second reading is part of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. Some three thousand responded to his message. Jesus, the rock rejected by the then Jewish leadership, God anointed as the new “rock,” the cornerstone of the new temple, his body ofearth, the Church he founded. Since our baptism, we are His temple, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and his people set apart.”
The section of Jerusalem around the Upper Room was are area where thousands of Jews stayed for a week when they came for special feasts each year. That section was now being flooded by Jewish and then pagan converts. The Jewish authorities were not happy. The Acts section today shows the apostles’ concern to set apart more of their time for prayer and preaching about Jesus. They chose to elect seven disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit. They ordained them to help serve the various needs of this flood of converts. This is the briefest historical sketch.
I want to focus on John’s gospel today. We have been reflecting on resurrection appearances of Jesus from Easter on. We have looked at some of Jesus’ “I am” statements. It is important to study all the resurrection stories because we get a sense of how alike and different Jesus’ body had become. He had the ability to appear and disappear at will. This should give us some idea of the heavenly body we shall have if we remain faithful to the end of our life.
As I shaved the other morning, after the funeral of one of our elderly friars, I was given to see that each day we live on earth is one day less of our life here. And we should be working to be one day closer to getting to paradise. Are we?
In John 14:1ff, which we often hear read at funerals, Jesus is telling his friends not to be troubled that he is leaving. He is going to get a house ready for us in heaven. He then said he will come back to take us to be with him where he reigns as king.
Jesus then gave them three “I am” statements. He is the way, the highway to heaven. He is the truth of his Father, not what is “politically correct,” the worldly plan. Jesus is our new life. This is why we must get our minds and wills in the right direction with our daily compass or GPS set on heaven. We do have responsibilities and priorities here on earth. Yet we need to know how to behave toward one another to get us to heaven.
Jesus once said, ““What you do to the least of mine, you do to me.” This is a big challenge for us. That is why reading the New Testament guided by the light of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is so vital. We become what we read and what we see. Don’t spend four + hours at night watching TV or playing on the computer. What does your head get filled with? John 8:31-32 JB, “If you make your home in my word, you will truly be my disciples (students), you will learn my truth and my truth will set you free.” Let us assist one another with our prayer and works. Have a blessed week getting closer to Jesus. Amen.+ Fr. Bob Hilz (© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)