Reflections on the Daily Readings

May 9 - 15, 2021
The Season of Easter - The Sixth Week
Readings: Sunday Cycle B; Weekday Cycle I.
Divine Office - Psalter Week II.

Sunday 9:            Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; Psalm 97; 1John 4:7-10; John 15:9-17
In our first reading St Peter is teaching a group of pagans who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as he speaks to them. Some of his Jewish followers are amazed that pagans should receive the gift that they believed only true followers could receive but Peter reminds them that God’s message is for all people regardless of their nationality or race or skin colour. St John speaks to us in the second reading about the love of God and tells us that God is love and that he revealed his love by sending his Son into the world for us. This theme of love is continued in the gospel where Christ tells us to remain in his love and we do this by keeping the commandments and loving God above all else. If we live in love we will reach out to others no matter where they come from and we will work to build up the kingdom of God in peace, harmony and love. In the text, Christ also tells us that he is commissioning each of us to go out and spread this love where ever we may find ourselves. He has called us and he is waiting for our reply and our full commitment.

Monday 10:         Of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 16:11-15; Psalm 149; John 15:26-16:4
In the reading from the Acts of the Apostles we see St Paul on his second mission to the Gentiles to preach the Gospel of Christ, this time in the area of Macedonia. He begins preaching in Philippi and is well received by the people. His preaching is so powerful and full of the Spirit that people readily accept Jesus as their saviour. In the gospel, Jesus is assuring his followers that he will leave them a strong witness to assist them after he has gone from them. The witness is the Holy Spirit. Christ is fully aware of the trials and persecutions which are to befall his followers but he is equally aware that with the aid of the Holy Spirit they will be able to endure and so be victorious. We too will be strengthened if we allow the Spirit to work in us.

Tuesday 11:         Of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 16:22-34; Psalm 137; John 16:5-11
Today’s first reading tells us of the imprisonment of St Paul and his companion Silas. They had freed a girl of an evil spirit which now meant that she was useless to her masters. These same masters had Paul and Silas imprisoned because of their lost earnings now that she was freed from possession. However, this is turned into an occasion of teaching and conversion when they are freed from their chains and the gaoler sees this. As a result, the gaoler is converted to the faith. In the gospel, Jesus tells his followers that if he were to remain with them they would not receive the Holy Spirit. By his going all is accomplished and the reign of the Spirit in the hearts of all humankind can begin. The Spirit is always with us but unless we undergo personal conversion – like the gaoler in the first reading – the Spirit’s presence will be lost to us.

Wednesday 12:    Of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 17:15, 22-18:1; Psalm 148; John 16:12-15
In the first reading St Paul is now in Athens, the artistic and spiritual centre of Greece in Paul’s day. Paul’s first impression of the city is not a good one and he resolves to bring about change in the hearts of the people. He preaches at the Areopagus and uses the philosophy of the ancient Greeks in his arguments. Some laugh at his teaching while others believe and follow him. Jesus, in the gospel text, continues to talk to the disciples about the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit we too will be led to the complete truth but only if we truly believe and are open to that truth and are willing to listen to the Spirit in our midst. If not, we will be no better than those who laughed at Paul in Athens.

Thursday 13:       Of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 18:1-8; Psalm 97; John 16:16-20
Today we see St Paul in southern Greece, in the city of Corinth, a city well known for its sexual immorality. Paul goes several times to the synagogue to persuade the people about Jesus but when they refuse to listen to him he goes instead to the Gentiles. Again his Spirit-filled teaching wins over many new believers. The gospel passage from St John sees Jesus preparing the disciples for his Ascension which quickly approaches. While they will be sorry to lose his physical presence they will rejoice in his glory and in the spread of the Gospel. So too, we should rejoice in the Gospel and its message to all peoples.

Friday 14:            Feast of St Matthias, Apostle*
Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Psalm 112; John 15:9-17
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us of the election of Matthias as one of the Twelve to replace Judas Iscariot. We hear of St Peter’s speech in which he says that Judas’ fate had been foretold. He goes on to say that Matthias had been with them for a long time so that his testimony of the Resurrection will be a first hand witness account. Of the two nominated, Matthias was the one elected. The gospel reading from St John reminds us that Christ has chosen us to be his own and to fulfil his work. If Christ has chosen us, who are we to say ‘no?’

Saturday 15:        Of the Sixth Week of Easter
Acts 18:23-28; Psalm 26; John 16:23-28
In the first reading from the Acts we see St Paul visiting the Christian community in Antioch. From here he sets off on his third missionary journey, this time to Galatia in modern-day Turkey. We are also introduced to Apollos, an Alexandrian Jew, who openly teaches about Christ and helps the believers. In the gospel, Christ is again reassuring the disciples as he prepares to leave them. He tells them that we should pray earnestly to God with full confidence while making all our prayers in the Lord’s own name.

Memorials this Week:
May 14:               Feast of St Matthias the Apostle
Very little is known about St Matthias except that he is the one who was chosen by the Eleven to take the place of Judas Iscariot. He appears to have spent time working in Judaea before going east to Cappadocia. He is believed to have been martyred at Colchis and his relics later brought to Rome by St Helena.

© P. Breen, O.Carm. 2011, 2013

Reflections on the Readings for every day of the Church's year.
Patrick J. Breen, O.Carm. Dublin: Columba Press. 2011. ISBN 978 1 85607 732 3.

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