19th May. Monday in Week 5 of Easter
First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
(At Lystra a crippled man was healed through Barnabas and Paul.)
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
(Jesus will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to keep them true to his message.)
Jesus said to his disciples, “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.”
With the Holy Spirit guiding us
We want to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit, becoming God’s instruments of grace and healing for others, just as were Saint Paul and other early Christians. Today’s Scriptures suggest ways to bring us to this healing frame of mind.
- First, we must listen to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will remind us of what Jesus has said and how it relates to our personal situation, and in so doing will revive our capacity for prayer, patience and helpfulness. The Holy Spirit touches us, reminding us that we are full of potential, meant to be instruments of love, helping to reveal the presence of God.
- Second, the message is near at hand, all around us. 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. Saint Paul expresses how near God’s message is: “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, 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.