Easter 6th Week: May 10-15:
May 10 Monday (St. Damien de Veuster, Priest, U. S. A.) John 15: 26–16:4 :
Context: In his final discourse with the apostles at the Last Supper, Jesus assured them that he would not desert them. Instead, a powerful Divine Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come to them from Jesus and the Father in order to guide them and to strengthen them.
The role of the Holy Spirit as outlined in today’s Gospel: 1) As the Counselor or Paraclete or Advocate, the Holy Spirit would coach, defend, and strengthen the apostles in their sufferings and persecution and would guide them during their trials before the civil authorities. 2) As the Spirit of Truth, He would bear witness to Jesus and enable the apostles to bear witness to Christ heroically before the pagans. The Holy Spirit would give them an experiential knowledge of Jesus and an in-depth knowledge of Jesus’ teachings. “The mission of the Church is carried out by means of that activity through which, in obedience to Christ’s command and moved by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes itself fully present to all men and peoples in order to lead them to the Faith, freedom, and peace of Christ by the example of its life and preaching, by the Sacraments and other means of grace” (Vatican II Decree, Ad Gentes 5). Then Jesus foretells the nature of the persecution: 1) Excommunicating Jesus’ followers from synagogues; 2) Establishing the murder of Jesus’ followers (“heretics”), as a religious duty in defense of Judaism and, so, pleasing to Yahweh.
Life messages: 1) As the Divine Advocate, the Holy Spirit, living within us, continues to help us bear witness to Christ by assisting us to live transparent Christian lives. 2) He also gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. 3) As the Divine Teacher, the Holy Spirit, through our daily study of the Bible, helps us to know Jesus thoroughly, to love him personally and to experience him intimately, so that we may live the ideals of Christ and convey them to others through our genuine Christian lives. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
May 11 Tuesday: John 16 :5-11:
The context: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tries to console his sad and disheartened disciples at the Last Supper, for they are at a loss, hearing the news of their master’s imminent departure. So, he assures them that they will not be left alone. He will send the Holy Spirit upon them as a friend, guide, consoler and teacher. Then Jesus explains the three different roles of the Holy Spirit in their lives. First, He will convince the world about the seriousness of sin. Thus, the Holy Spirit will lead us to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness from Jesus. The Divine Advocate will demonstrate that not believing in Jesus is the real sin. It is the Holy Spirit Who would prick the hearts of the Jews on the day of Pentecost, convicting them of their sin of crucifying their Messiah. In the same way, He convicts us of wrongdoing and convinces us of God’s truth. Second, the Spirit convinces us of the righteousness of Christ, which means that that Jesus was right in his teachings and promises, as proved by God His Father Who granted him Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. Although Jesus was condemned to death, it was actually Satan, the ruler of this world, who was condemned through Jesus’ death. Third, the Holy Spirit gives us the inner and unshakable conviction that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. When we heed God’s judgments, we find true peace, joy, and reconciliation with God.
Life message: We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He wishes in and through our lives so that He may release us from the grip of sin and set us ablaze with the fire of God’s love. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
May 12 Wednesday (Saints Nereus and Achilleus, Martyrs; St. Pancras, Martyr) https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/Saints-Heroes/sts-nereus-achilleus-and-pancras.html: https://mycatholic.life/saints/saints-of-the-liturgical-year/may-12-saints-nereus-and-achilleus-martyrs/ Jn 16:12-15:
The context: Today’s Gospel passage is taken from the Last Supper discourse in which Jesus instructed his disciples on the role of the Holy Spirit and His relationship with Jesus and God the Father.
1) First, as the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit is the Gift of God Who is the Possessor and the Giver of all truth. It is the Spirit’s role to make the disciples fully understand the truths revealed by Christ. Vatican II teaches that Our Lord “completed and perfected Revelation and confirmed it…finally by sending the Spirit of Truth” (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4).
2) By bringing to their minds and clarifying everything Jesus has taught them, the Holy Spirit will also enable them to render glory to God by glorifying His Son Jesus.
Relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son: Jesus also reveals the mystery of the Blessed Trinity in today’s Gospel passage, saying that the Three Divine Persons have the same nature: “everything that the Father has belongs to the Son, and everything the Son has belongs to the Father” (cf. John 17:10), and that the Spirit also shares the same Divine Essence with the Father and the Son.
Life message: 1) We need the daily guidance and strengthening of the Holy Spirit in our mission of bearing witness. We should remember that Faith is a gift. Hence, we do not gain converts by argument or eloquence, but by praying for them and by radiating, through our living, the Good News that Jesus has died for our sins, has risen for our justification, and offers us a share in his glory. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
May 13 Thursday (Our Lady of Fatima) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/our-lady-of-fatima : (Our Lady of Fatima) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/our-lady-of-fatima/ : John 15: 1-8: Today is the 103rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to three shepherd children, Lúcia Santos (10) who later became a Carmelite nun (Sister Lúcia) and died in 2005 at the age of 97, and her cousins Francisco Marto (9) who died at 11 in 1919 and Jacinta (7) who died at 10 in 1920. The apparitions took place on a small spreading oak tree, six times in five months, on the thirteenth of each month from May through October 1917, at Fatima, a village 110 miles North of Lisbon in Portugal. Mary instructed the children to pray the Rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners and for the conversion of Russia. On October 13th, 1917, seventy thousand people witnessed the dancing sun miracle without hurting their eyes. They saw the sun rotating, enlarging, shrinking, approaching and retreating. (https://youtu.be/-vIRDTmrUZU?list=PLpTzvCOJa7DA8uaxE25BlBvINntS5bWpi /) USCCB video reflections: http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm; https://catholic-daily-reflections.com/daily-reflections/
The three secrets of Fatima: On July 13, around noon, the Lady is said to have entrusted three secrets to the children. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of José da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta. The first secret was a vision of hell and its torments. The second secret was a statement that World War I would end and supposedly a prediction of the coming of World War II, should God continue to be offended and if Russia were not converted. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart. When asked by the Bishop of Leiria in 1943 to reveal the third secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being “not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act.” However, in October of 1943 the bishop of Leiria ordered her to put it in writing. Lucia then wrote the secret down and sealed it an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when “it will appear clearer.” Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See’s Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000. It spoke of a “bishop in white who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him.” Many people, including Pope St. John Paul II himself, linked this secret to the May 13, 1981 assassination attempt against him in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca. Some claim that this was not the real secret revealed to Lúcia, despite assertions from the Vatican and Sister Lucia herself to the contrary. According to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, “it appeared evident to his Holiness that it was a motherly hand which guided the bullets past, enabling the dying Pope to halt at the threshold of death.” (BBC). The local bishop approved the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1930; and it was added to the Church’s worldwide calendar in 2002.
Life messages: 1) We need to become holy children of a holy Mother by leading pure lives. 2) We need to imitate Mary’s trusting faith in God’s power, her unconditional surrender and obedience to God’s will, and her spirit of selfless and humble service. 3) We need to obey the Fatima message of repentance, renewal of life and praying the Rosary. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L/21
Alternate reading: Jn 16:16-20:
The context: In the Last Supper discourse, Jesus tells the Apostles about leaving them in order to return to his Father and about coming again at the end of time to usher in the new age of God’s kingdom. When they start asking each other the meaning of these statements, Jesus explains to them the hardships they will have to face after his departure and the glorious reward waiting for them in his Second Coming. But as he had consoled them earlier, promising to send a Paraclete, now Jesus assures them that his absence is only temporary.
A little while: Jesus is speaking about a three-level disappearance and reappearance. The first level is Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The apostles will no longer see Jesus when he dies. But they will see Jesus again in three days as their risen Lord. The second level is the mystical level: They will lose sight of Jesus physically when he ascends to the glory of the Father. But they will see Jesus again in many ways by Faith when the Holy Spirit comes (e.g., in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in the praying community, and in people we meet). There is also a third level. Jesus is not now visible physically to the world but will manifest his glory to the whole world when he comes again in glory for the Last Judgment. In the light of eternity, a few thousand years are but an instant, a very short while.
Life messages: 1) Let us try to recognize the presence of the living Lord in our midst here and now. 2) Let us ask Him to help us adjust our daily lives accordingly, so that we, too, may inherit the eternal joy prepared for us. Fr. Tony (frtonyshomilies.com) L/21
May 14 Friday (St. Matthias, Apostle) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-matthias :: Jn 15: 12-17:
The context: Today’s Gospel passage is a part of Jesus’ Last Supper discourse. Jesus reminds his disciples that he has chosen them as his friends with a triple mission. First, they are to love others as he has loved them. Second, they are to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Third, they are to ask God the Father in Jesus’ Name, for whatever they need.
First, Jesus modifies the Old Testament command from “love your neighbor as you love yourselves” (Lv 19:18) to “love others as I have loved you.” This means that our love for others must be unconditional, forgiving, and sacrificial. We, too, must be ready to express our love for others by our readiness to die for them as Jesus died for us. Second, Jesus explains that the calling to produce fruits, which the Apostles received, and which every Christian also receives, does not originate in the individual’s good desires but in Christ’s free choice. Third, Jesus concludes his advice by referring to the effectiveness of prayer offered in his Name. That is why the Church usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation “Through Jesus Christ our Lord….”
Life message: 1) Let us remember that true Christian love is costly and painful because it involves sacrifice on our part when we start loving unlovable, ungrateful and hostile people with Christ’s unconditional, forgiving and sacrificial love. But our Christian call is to love others as Jesus has loved us, and as Jesus loves them, and he always gives us the grace to do so. Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) L-21
May 15 Saturday(St. Isdore, U. S. A.) https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-isidore-of-seville :Jn 16. 23-28:
The context: Jesus used parables and metaphors, both in teaching the general public and in explaining teachings to the apostles. Today’s Gospel passage is taken from Jesus’ last discourse with his disciples at their Last Passover Supper together. Here, too, Jesus uses metaphors of a vine and its branches and the simile of a woman giving birth. Now Jesus tells them that he is going to tell them about God, his Father, in plain language. Jesus explains the mystery of his Incarnation in plain language saying, “I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” Then Jesus corrects the Jewish misconception of God, his Father, as a judging and punishing God, telling the apostles that God the Father is a loving and forgiving Father, to Whom they can pray directly (“Abba!”) in Jesus’ name, and that their prayers will be granted because the Father knows that they love His Son, Jesus, and believe in His Divinity. To pray in Jesus’ Name is not a magic formula or password. It means that we come to God the Father in the merit and righteousness of His Son Jesus. In other words, I come to the Father depending on the perfect merit of Jesus which gives me standing before the Father. It also means that I pray to Father as Jesus’ representative, asking that God the Father’s will be done and that His name be glorified. In other words, praying in Jesus’ name means praying with Jesus’ authority and asking God the Father to act upon our prayers because we come in the name of His Son, Jesus. This is the pattern of prayer in the Liturgy. The Eucharistic prayer is invariably addressed to the Father, “through Him (Jesus), with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit” All our prayer has the pattern of the Trinity stamped on it. This does not mean that we should never pray to anyone but the Father. We are free to pray to Jesus, Mary, and the saints, but always in the full knowledge that the Father is the ultimate Recipient of all prayer – just as the sea receives every stream.
Life message: 1) God our Father is a loving, merciful and providing God who wants His children to approach Him directly and through His Son and our only mediator, Jesus. 2) Hence, let us make our prayers of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, contrition, and petition more effective and fruitful by offering them to God our Father through His Son Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit.
(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)