15May 15 May, 2017. Monday, Week 5 of Easter

Saint Carthage, bishop

1st Reading: Acts 14:5-18

At Lystra a crippled man is healed by Barnabas and Paul

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

Jesus will send the Holy Spirit as Advocate, to keep his message alive

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.”


If we let the Holy Spirit guide our actions

The Acts of the Apostles suggests that if we let ourselves be led by the Holy Spirit, it will give new power and purpose to our actions. We can even be instruments of good news and of healing, like Paul and Barnabas. We may be able at times to help and heal others, as they did. Today’s episode about the cure of a man in Lystra (in the south of modern Turkey) suggest this healing frame of mind.

First, to listen to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reminds us of all that Jesus has said, relevant to our situation, and revives our capacity for prayer, love and helpfulness. Inspiration can fan our vocation to ministry back to fresh life and restore some of the freshness of youth when our ideals ran high. The Spirit reminds us that we are full of potential, meant to be instruments of love that reveal the life-giving presence of God.

Second, know that God’s influence is all around us. God’s influence is written everywhere. The Spirit lets us recognise God’s word, as though spoken for the first time, directly to our hearts. The message is from the Father who sent Jesus out on his ministry of healing. As Paul says in today’s reading: “the living God 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, the word belongs to everyone. It cannot be hoarded as our private property. Our inspiration must be shared or it dies within us. 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.

If we just let ourselves be used… Each of us can be God’s instrument, sometimes even working small miracles. As God’s Word infuses new life into our thoughts and actions, its effect is healing, as to the crippled man at Lystra. Remember, Jesus promised that “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit… will instruct you in everything.”

A legacy of love

The verb “to love” is prominent in today’s gospel. It speaks of our love for Jesus, Jesus’ love for us, and God the Father’s love for us. God the Father expresses his love for us by giving us the Son. Jesus expresses his love for us by laying down his life for us, and by making known to us all he has learned from the Father. We express our love for Jesus by keeping his word, by living according to his teaching, which, in John’s gospel, is summed up as “love one another as I have loved you.”

The gospel also refers to the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. As the Father expresses his love for us by giving us the Son; the Father and Son together express their love for us by giving us the Holy Spirit. The role of the Holy Spirit, according to our reading, is to be our teaching, to keep bringing to our minds the teaching, the word, of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us to keep Jesus’ word, especially his command to “love one another as I have loved you.” In that short gospel reading, there is a whole vision of the Christian life, of God’s relationship with us as Father, Son and Spirit, and of our relationship with each other.

Saint Carthage, bishop

Carthage (or Mochuda), from Co. Kerry, who loved chanting the Psalms, was helped by the local king to become a priest. After spending some time in Bangor, learning the monastic life, he founded his own monastery in 595 at Rahan, County Offaly and subsequently was founder and first abbot of Lismore. St Carthage is now patron of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore..

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  1. santhosh


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