7th May. Monday of the 5th Week of Easter
Acts 14:5ff. At Lystra a crippled man was healed through Barnabas and Paul.
John 14:21ff. Jesus will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to keep them true to his message
Letting the Spirit guide us
As we begin a plan or project, we want to be instructed by the Holy Spirit, so as to become God’s instruments such that people will sense a healing power in us, as once they did in Paul. Then as we look at others, whatever their troubles, perhaps we too will find faith strong enough to help and heal them, as Paul did. Today’s Scriptures suggest ways to bring us to this healing frame of mind.
First, we must be obedient to the Holy Spirit. We try to discern God’s least desire for us, and follow it in love. The commandments are not a set of arbitrary rules but a way of following God’s holy will, moment by moment. This same Spirit will remind us of all that Jesus has said, relevant to our situation, and in so doing will revive our capacity for prayer, patience and helpfulness. Earlier graces which at one time meant much to us will be fanned to fresh life and bring back some of the freshness of youth when life lay before us and we were stirred by loving ideals. The Holy Spirit touches us, reminding us that we are full of potential, meant to be instruments of love and so to reveal the wonderful presence of God.
Second, the message is near at hand, all around us. God’s word is written everywhere. The Spirit enables us to hear God’s word, as though spoken for the first time, directly to our hearts. The message comes from the Father and sent Jesus out on his ministry of healing and salvation, drawing him into desert nights of prayer, inspiring him to teach and to heal. It reaches us today in the Scriptures and brings out the words of the Spirit within our own spirit.. St. Paul expressed it this way in today’s reading: “We are bringing you the good news that will turn you to the living God, who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them. … In bestowing his benefits, he has not hidden himself from us. From the heavens he sends down rain and rich harvests; your spirits he fills with food and delight.”
Thirdly, if the word is everywhere, then it belongs to everyone. It cannot be guarded as an individual’s private property. By its nature it must be shared or it dies. Just as the Father’s word, as Jesus said, “is not mine” but is “to instruct you in everything,” so the word we receive in our hearts must continuously flow through us to inspire new life in others.
Fourthly, this life-giving word must be received unconditionally. We must accept that each of us can be God’s instrument, through the word, even to the extent of working miracles. As God’s inspired Word infuses new life into our thoughts and expressions, others may respond like the crippled man at Lystra. If they look on us and see in us “the faith to be saved” it would be something that comes from God’s own Spirit. Remember, Jesus promised that “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit… will instruct you in everything.”
First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
And when an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, the apostles learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they continued proclaiming the good news.
In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice.
When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good – giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Gospel: John 14:21-26
They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”