Seventh Sunday after Easter: Ps 27:1, 4, 7-8; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11a
It is a little difficult to pick a theme when some of my readers in the Northeast celebrated the Ascension last Thursday while most of the country moved it to this Sunday. So I shall keep to more on the significance of the time from the Ascension to Pentecost.
Dr. Scott Hahn, a prominent Catholic Scripture scholar, points out that there were two different calendars that Jews followed for the Passover. Some observed Tuesday, which would allow for the various trials of Jesus to take place leading up to passion and death. The work of God’s Son being sent to earth to save the human race from its sins was accomplished. Being that Jesus came back from the dead gloriously transformed was a clear sign to His followers that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice.
As I said last week Jesus appeared to various people to prove that he really was alive and changed. During his final appearance he gave final explanations as to why he had to suffer and die. Then, as explained in the first reading for the Ascension, Acts 1-11 explained very briefly how Jesus was taken from their sight. His disciples, obviously, were distressed and returned to their residences in Jerusalem to await the Holy Spirit. These nine days of prayer and fasting are the only “novena” commanded in Scripture. The various prayers and antiphons reflect a pleading tone for the renewal and power of the Holy Spirit to continue to transform us.
These days of reading and reflecting (meditating) on these events in the lives of the early church deepen our understanding. We have a better sense of how the Holy Spirit worked through the early followers. Then we have a deeper sense of how the Holy Spirit wants to use us to tell others. Our daily lives can be the way others come to know the real love of Jesus for us. Let us pray more earnestly this week that we say our yes to how God wants to use us even if, like Jesus’ mother Mary, we don’t see into the future. If you are new to my writing here, I can send you via an .rft file, nine short teachings about the Holy Spirit at: email@example.com.Blessings, + Fr. Bob Hilz (© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)