Word Today, May 1, 2005 (SIXTH SUNDAY OF
Readings: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17/1 Pt 3:15-18/Jn 14:15-21
During these forty days between Easter and the Ascension
of the Lord, the Church invites us to focus our sights on
heaven, our final destination. This invitation becomes timelier
as the day in which Jesus will ascend to the Father’s
right hand approaches. This sense of expectation is expressed
in the words of Jesus to his apostles that we read in today’s
gospel: “In a short time the world will no longer see
me; but you will see me, because I live and you will live.”
We should think about heaven and contrast it with the false
happiness that we sometimes cling to on earth. The thought
of heaven will help us to be detached from material things
and to overcome difficulties we can encounter. Fill yourself
with hope, because God wants heaven for all of us. Hope will
make us fulfill our part of the struggle.
Word Today, May 2, 2005 (Monday in the
Sixth Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 16:11-15/ Jn 15:26—16:4a
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus talks about the
Holy Spirit. He calls the Spirit of God “Advocate”.
Other versions translate the word as “Paraclete” or “Consoler”.
This gospel is like an anticipation of the celebration of
the Solemnity of Pentecost, which will come soon after the
Lord’s departure for heaven. It is somehow introducing
us to the Person of the Holy Spirit.
All these terms referring to the Holy Spirit point to the
reality of the Holy Spirit’s role in our life. The
Holy Spirit will enlighten us. The Holy Spirit will come
to our defense. The Holy Spirit will give us consolation.
What Jesus did for his followers two thousand years ago,
that the Holy Spirit does for us now.
Word Today, May 3, 2005 (Saint Philip and
Saint James, apostles)
Readings: 1 Cor 15:1-8/Jn 14:6-14
The gospel today contains the mysterious words of Christ, “I
am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” On the occasion
Christ said this, he also told Philip, one of the Apostles
whom we commemorate today, “He that has seen me has
seen the Father… I am in the Father and the Father
in me.” At that time, they were probably at a loss
about the meaning of these words. From our perspective, we
have a better understanding of these words.
Christ is our mediator to God. He is our way to God. Through
Christ, we come to know the truth (revelation) and we acquire
a new life (a share in God’s life). This is possible
because Christ is both man and God. As God, Christ is in
perfect unity with God the Father. If we go to Christ, we
end up in the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity.
Word Today, May 4, 2005 (Wednesday in the
Sixth Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 17:15, 22—18:1/ Jn 16:12-15
“When the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to
the complete truth.” Jesus is telling the apostles
about the coming of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the Holy
Spirit, once Jesus Christ has died, risen from the dead and
ascended to heaven, is to apply the fruits of Christ’s
redemption to the Church. This means, that the mission of
the Holy Spirit is basically one of sanctification.
It is significant that Christ calls the Holy Spirit the
spirit of “truth.” After all, sanctification
requires the acceptance of the truth revealed by Christ.
That is why faith, by which we come to possess the supernatural
truths about God and ourselves, is considered by St. Paul
to be the beginning of justification. Let us pray to the
Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and the minds of all men,
so that we may all be receptive to the truths left by Christ
in his holy Church.
Word Today, May 5, 2005 (Thursday in the
Sixth Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 18:1-8/ Jn 16:16-20
The words of Jesus were meant to prepare the apostles for
the trials they will undergo during the passion of Jesus. “You
will be weeping and wailing, while the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” But
these words of Jesus can also apply to the general situation
of Christians. They must expect persecution and difficulties.
In fact, many of the first Christians suffered martyrdom
for their faith, but they were triumphant in the end because
they entered heaven.
Nowadays, we can also apply these words of Jesus to our
situation. When a Christian, out of fidelity to Christian
principles and morals, suffers material setbacks, he can
also rest assured that God will somehow reward him. Quite
often, even in this life, a Christian’s temporal sorrow
is transformed into a deep joy. But above all, the sorrow
will be transformed to joy when he receives the eternal reward
Word Today, May 6, 2005 (Friday in the
Sixth Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 18:9-18/ Jn 16:20-23
Jesus Christ said, “I shall see you again, and your
hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take
from you.” This passage makes us consider the joy a
Christian should have. Christianity, although its symbol
is the cross (which is associated with hardship), is a religion
of joy and happiness.
Anyone can have a good laugh and still be sad deep down
inside. Joy is not just having a fun time. True joy, the
one that “no one shall take from you”, is based
on the deep conviction coming from faith that God is our
father who loves us madly. When hardships come (and come
it must for everyone because we live in an imperfect world),
Christian joy is not removed. By uniting our sufferings with
Christ on the cross, our joy becomes even more firmly rooted.
A Christian can continue to smile in spite of external and
Word Today, May 7, 2005 (Saturday in the
Sixth Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 18:23-28/Jn 16:23b-28
“If you ask the Father anything in my name, he will
give it to you.” These words of Jesus are an assurance
to us that our prayers, if they are properly done, are always
answered. What can we learn about prayer from these words?
In the first place, we must pray to God as our father – that
means that we must address God with the simplicity and trust
of a child, not the suspicion and self-reliance of an adult.
Then, we must address God in the name of Jesus. Have you
noticed how many liturgical prayers end with the formula “we
ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ?” It means that
we do not rely on our own merits. We must unite ourselves
with Jesus Christ, who only wanted to do the will of God.
And we come to our final point – our prayers are answered
if it conforms to the will of God. Now the will of God, who
is our loving Father, is for our authentic good. Hence, God
will grant the prayers that are for our true good. And as
many parents have experienced, they give their children good
things but the children sometimes do not realize that what
may seem to be an unpleasant response is really good for
Word Today, May 8, 2005 (SOLEMNIT OF OUR
Readings: Acts 1:1-11/ Eph 1:17-23/ Mt 28:16-20
The very last recorded words of Jesus on earth were these: “Behold,
I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the
world.” They were addressed to the Christians who were
agape, watching the Lord rising up to heaven and gradually
disappearing from their sight. Jesus said those words right
after He had entrusted them with a very demanding charge – to
convert the whole world by sanctifying and teaching all people.
This is at the heart of the mission of the Church -- the
salvation of all men.
The last words of Jesus are the basis of what we call the “indefectibility” of
the Church. It does not mean that the Church, composed of
limited mortals, has no defects in her members. It means
that the Church, as a whole, will not fail in the mission
given it by Christ. This is because Jesus, who is God and
who has won our salvation, will always be with the Church.
And so, throughout the centuries, the Church has gone through
many difficult times. Yet, in mysterious ways, she continues
here salvific activity. She somehow “bounces back” from
any crisis She encounters. The boat of Peter may be rocked,
but it will never sink.
Word Today, May 9, 2005 (Monday in the
Seventh Week of Easter)
Readings: Acts 19:1-8/ Jn 16:29-33
In today’s gospel, Jesus foretold how even the apostles
would end up abandoning him. “The time will come –in
fact it has come already—when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.” At the
same time, this does not disconcert Jesus. He is aware that
there is a greater one who will never abandon him. “And
yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
How wonderful it would be if we all had the same awareness
as Jesus. Indeed, God is always with us, whether or not we
are aware of it. But if we were always conscious of God’s
presence, we would always act in the best possible way. Besides,
we would be filled with peace and joy.