Gospel of Mark 10:28-31 Reflection:
Jesus is building up his team and like any group of men starting out on a new job they want to know what is in it for them. "What about us. We have left everything and followed you." You can almost hear the pride in their voices, now they want to know what their reward shall be.
They don't get the answer they expect. They think Jesus is going to set up an earthly kingdom and that they shall be his ministers but Jesus tells them their real reward will not be in this life-this life will bring persecution-but in the life to come.
The Christian life demands that we walk in faith. Sometimes we don't see the good times, sometimes we do. But our faith tells us we are being cared for by a loving God. And in the dull times when we feel alone and a little despair creeps in, if we keep going, that's when real growth in faith takes place. Many times the apostles shall be called on to keep going through their difficulties. Why should we be any different?
Gospel of John 21:15-19 Reflection:
The relationship between Peter and the Lord is one of the deepest revealed in all of scripture. We can get a real feeling for the way they interacted over the time they were friends. Now in this final farewell to Peter, Jesus shows how much he loved Peter on a personal as well as divine level. People read all sorts of mystical levels into the words of Peter and Jesus in this passage but on a surface level they are just the words of two friends saying goodbye. For the rest of his life, Peter would keep this moment alive in his heart.
Everything has a natural beginning, middle and end. It is time for Jesus to go and Peter and the apostles are coming to realise this. But Jesus has also promised not to leave them orphans. The Spirit will come. The apostles would not have been sure what this meant but they would have trusted the Lord. We must do the same. We are expected to trust that all shall be well. Jesus shall not let us down.
Gospel of John 17:20-26 Reflection
Today we are still with the Priestly Prayer of Jesus. If we could sit with this prayer a while and listen to what Jesus is praying to the Father, the tenderness, the affection and the love which he shows for us. He prays directly for us because he says, "for those also who through the words of the apostles will believe in me."
Imagine, Jesus at the heart of the Trinity praying for you. And all I have to do is respond and accept. The work is done. Jesus has died and is risen. Why do we keep on resisting and seeking our own way, thinking that we know best. How foolish we must look from the eyes of heaven!
A reading from St Basil the Great
Gospel of John 16:23-28 Reflection:
Pity the poor apostles; they have met this wonderful man who has taught them and shown them so much that they can't take it in. He has died and has risen. Now he teaches them so much after the resurrection that they have a head full of knowledge about Jesus and God. Soon Jesus is to go, tomorrow he shall ascend to the Father. They are still unsure. It is not until the Spirit comes and enlightens their minds that they understand.
Now they have knowledge, then they shall have experience; they shall know in their very bones that Jesus is Lord and this shall utterly change their lives. That's what baptism in the Spirit does to us. But first Jesus must leave and the apostles must wait!
Gospel of John 16:20-23 Reflection:
The promises that Jesus makes to us as we come to Pentecost grows ever more mysterious and deep. John spent a lifetime reflecting on the word of God before he wrote his gospel and in these passages we see the result of that experience and reflection.
The last phrase of today's writing, "and that joy no one shall take from you. When that day comes you will not ask me any questions." When the Spirit comes, all the questions about Jesus, who he is, what he meant, why he died, they all stop; from then on the living, risen Jesus is all the Apostles shall need. These promises are still for us today. When we enter the life of the Spirit we are content simply to know Jesus.
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