Scripture of the Week
Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:
'Our Daily Meditation' from Madonna Magazine - Jesuit Communications (Australia)
Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA)
Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)
Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:
Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm SEE BELOW
Fr. John McKinnon click here
Fr. John Thornhill click here
Sunday, 21 May 2017: Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year A
First Reading - Acts 8:5-8. 14-17
They laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Ps 65:1-7. 16. 20. R. see v.1
(R.) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Second Reading - 1 Peter 3:15-18
In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.
Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.
All who love me will keep my words,
and my Father will love them and we will come to them.
Gospel - John 14:15-21
I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever,
that Spirit of truth
whom the world can never receive
since it neither sees nor knows him;
but you know him,
because he is with you, he is in you.
I will not leave you orphans;
I will come back to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me;
but you will see me,
because I live and you will live.
On that day
you will understand that I am in my Father
and you in me and I in you.
Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them
will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
Those who defend themselves in court run the risk of being outsmarted by clever and sometimes unscrupulous adversaries. It is never a good idea to be too self-reliant even in a country with a basically sound legal system such as ours. Today’s gospel implies that the disciples need a defense attorney or lawyer. Jesus has acted in that capacity for them in their struggles with the anti-gospel forces arrayed against them.
Now he is close to death and he gives them instructions that begin and end with reference to loving him and keeping his commandments. Jesus has given them “a new commandment” (13:34-35): “…that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” Later in this discourse (15:12-14) the reader of the gospel learns what the actors in the drama already know about Jesus’ commandments. “This is my commandment,” says Jesus, “that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” This is no small demand, to be prepared to die for one another.
Given the opposition they are likely to face, the disciples cannot live out such a commitment on their own. Neither is Jesus leaving them “orphans” who have to fend for themselves. He will ask his Father to provide “another” defender or advocate who will act on their behalf, an advocate who will always be there. This new advocate is the “Spirit of truth”. As we approach the end of the Easter season, the liturgy thus points us in the direction of Pentecost and the gift of God’s Spirit.
It is good to know we are never on our own. It is also good to reflect on the capacity we have for love. Most of us will never find ourselves in a situation where our love is tested to the point that we have to die for another. On the other hand, we are constantly being called on to put the well-being of others, even their survival, before our own comfort. With global warming and the life-style changes that will inevitably come sooner rather than later, we may well find ourselves “laying down our lives” in various ways for the sake of our friends, humankind and other-kind, across the planet. Even now, we have countless opportunities to “lay down our lives” to mitigate the effects of climate change or to protect the rights of those displaced by war or persecution. With the help of the Spirit, our Advocate, we can surely rise to the challenge.
Sr Veronica Lawson rsm
© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.