Sunday, May 18, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, May 18, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Acts 6:1-7
As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with  the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
P S A L M - Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
R: Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.
Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting. 2Give thanks to the Lord on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. (R) Upright is the word of the Lord, and all his works are trustworthy. He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full. (R)18 See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness,19 to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.(R)
2ND READING - 1 Peter 2:4-9
Beloved: Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in  Scripture: “Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.” Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “a stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall.” They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny. But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.
John 14:1-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. 12 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”


Any leader in the Church, from the Pope down to the leader of the smallest prayer group in the world, ought to have meditated long and hard on the First Reading we have today. Why do I say this? It is very simple. The Apostles realized that so much of their time was being consumed by administrative functions that, though essential, need not be done by them. They raised up deacons to help them accomplish those tasks. But this was not just about getting the job done. In fact, the primary reason behind having deacons was so that the Apostles could devote themselves more to prayer and preaching of the Gospel. What does it mean to devote one’s self to something? It is giving your fullest and undivided attention to something. Every leader in the Church should ask themselves this question: “Do I devote myself fully to prayer and proclaiming the Gospel?” If not, what are you going to do about changing the priorities in your life?

       The Church needs leaders who are people of prayer and whose first priority is the proclamation of the Gospel. Yes, there are administrative tasks that need to be accomplished, but other people can do these better. The Church is either serious about evangelization and will set up its structures to promote this goal, or it is not! Let us pray for a newfound zeal to evangelize so that we can stem the number of people leaving the Church and recapture the dynamism of the Early Church, with its enthusiasm for the Gospel and the willingness of so many people to give their all in its service.

       Nothing will change in the Church if we just look at the problems and discern they are too big for us to overcome. We need to chip away at the encrusting barnacles that have attached themselves to the keel of the barque (ship/boat) of the Church. It is time to set a new course of evangelization for the Church and to put our energy, efforts and resources in this task. If people are genuinely undergoing conversion, all other problems will work themselves out. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: How much of your time do you devote to prayer and Church-related activities?
Holy Spirit, help me to be an agent of change in my local Church. Let me be an example of prayer to others and always ready to proclaim the Gospel at every opportunity that comes my way.

St. John I, pope and martyr, pray for us.

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