Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - May 25, 2014 with Reflection

 1ST READING - Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them. 6 With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured. 8 There was great joy in that city. 14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
P S A L M - Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
R: Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
1 Shout joyfully to God, all you on earth, 2 sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. 3 Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds! (R) 4 Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!” 5 Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam. (R) 6 He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot; therefore let us rejoice in him. 7 He rules by his might forever. (R) 16 Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. 20 Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness! (R)
2nd READING - 1 Peter 3:15-18
15 Beloved: Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
John 14:15-21
15 Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, 17 the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”


This text from the First Letter of St. Peter, a text that is most often regarded as a baptismal homily or instruction, is one that we should reflect upon often in terms of our commitment to our mission. St. Peter tells us that proclaiming the Gospel is not an option for a Christian. Of course we can choose to refuse to share our faith with anyone, but then not only would our faith be untrue to itself, it would also die. St. Peter reminds us to be always ready to share what we have received with anyone who asks for it.

       It is a good idea to have a few short testimonials prepared that we can easily draw upon when the right situation arises. It won’t hurt to be ready with a short personal testimony or simple Gospel presentation that can be shared in two or three minutes. Peter suggests that at least part of our motivation for doing this would come from reverencing the Lord Jesus in our hearts. In other words, if we truly treasure the gift of faith and salvation that we have received, then we will be motivated to share with others what we have received.

       St. Peter also reminds us that we should speak with gentleness and patience. The Gospel should never be forced on anyone. By its nature, it is a freely chosen gift. Thus, we have no right to impose it on anyone. He also reminds us to ensure that we have a clear conscience — that our witness should be consistent with what we proclaim. It is difficult. It is easier to say something than live it. Yet, this is our calling as Christians.

       Jesus has given us the example of what it means to lay down one’s life in the service of others. Let us do our best to follow His lead. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: How well do you proclaim the Gospel in your life?
Holy Spirit, help me to repent of my sins and grow in holiness so that I will be a better witness of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

St. Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor of the Church, pray for us.

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