MONDAY, SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER
Reading 1: Acts 16: 11-15 Today Paul and Luke are at Philippi where Paul converts Lydia and accepts her invitation to make his headquarters at her house.
Gospel: Jn 15:26 – 16:4 Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit upon his apostles so that they may be able to bear witness to him.
GOING OUT TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS
The first reading seems to indicate that Luke, the author of the book of Acts, is travelling with Paul and his companions. They are constantly on the move, introducing people to the teachings of Jesus. In Philippi, Paul meets a businesswoman, Lydia, who found Jesus’ message relevant to her life. Scripture describes it thus: “The Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying.” Conversion not only needs to be convinced in the mind but also requires a change of heart. True and lasting conversion can happen only when the truth is accepted by the heart.
Today, amidst the pandemic, fear plagues a large segment of humanity. None of us can expect to be completely free of this fear and anxiety about the future of the world. However, all who experience the love of God, like Paul and his companions, are called to spread this love and peace, to let people know that God is a refuge and a bulwark in times of trouble.
The Church today needs to reach out into areas of commerce, politics and the media, and also to refugees, victims of trafficking and people with gender dysphoria, with love. For this we need help, and Jesus promises it to us in the Gospel through the Holy Spirit. The apostles needed to hear those reassuring words. We too can draw our strength from these words – we are not alone, the Spirit will bear witness and help us to bear witness to the Father and to Jesus, who is the only answer to all our fears.
Jesus also goes on to predict the sufferings they will have to undergo in their apostolate. Are we willing to get out of our comfort zones and stick out our necks to bring God’s love and peace to those around us? Then, we have to be ready to face persecution and rejection. Said St Teresa of Avila: “I desire to suffer, Lord, all the trials that come to me, and esteem them as a great good enabling me to imitate you in something” (Way of Perfection 26:6).
Resp. Psalm: Ps 149: 1-6, 9 The Lord takes delight in his people.
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