MAY 8 Mon Easter Weekday Acts 14:5-18/Jn 14:21-26
9 Tue Easter Weekday Acts 14:19-28/Jn 14:27-31a
10 Wed Easter Weekday [St John of Avila; USA: St Damien de Veuster, ]
Acts 15:1-6/Jn 15:1-8
11 Thu Easter Weekday Acts 15:7-21/Jn 15:9-11
12 Fri Easter Weekday [Sts Nereus and Achilleus; St Pancras,]
Acts 15:22-31/Jn 15:12-17
13 Sat Easter Weekday [Our Lady of Fatima]
Acts 16:1-10/Jn 15:18-21
14 SUN SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTEr
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17/1 Pt 3:15-18/Jn 14:15-21
The gospel readings for the remainder of the Easter season are from the Farewell Discourse from John’s gospel. A good source to reflect on the presence of Jesus in the sacraments.
“I will not leave you orphans,” Jesus says, yet he will not be with them as he was before, but he will be with them in signs, as God is always with them. The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, will teach them all things; Jesus will be present in signs.
The Acts of the Apostles continue to describe the church’s journey in time. This week’s readings describe the successful missionary efforts of Paul and Barnabas among the gentiles in the Asia Minor cities of Lystra, Derbe, and Pisidia. The mission raises questions in the Jewish Christian community at Jerusalem. Are the gentiles taking over? To meet what some considered a threat and others an opportunity, a council was called in Jerusalem, which has enormous consequences for the church.
Conflict causes the church to grow, Pope Francis said some time ago: “But some in Jerusalem, when they heard this, became ‘nervous and sent Barnabas on an “apostolic visitation”: perhaps, with a little sense of humor we could say that this was the theological beginning of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: this apostolic visit by Barnabas. He saw, and he saw that things were going well.”
Previously in his homily, the pope said that persecution or crises bring growth, often hidden. In the 1960s and 70s, as the church in the western world experienced critical times and decline, tremendous growth took place in Africa, Asia, and South America. Today there are 1.2 billion Catholics in a world of 6 billion people.
And it’s not over yet.