May 28 – THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

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This seventh Sunday of Easter is somewhat like the proverbial “calm before the storm.” The Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven and Pentecost has not yet occurred. Rather than immediately taking up Jesus’ command to go out to all the nations, the disciples gather in the upper room “with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). There they all devote themselves to prayer. The Gospel recounts the great prayer for the disciples that Jesus offered to his Father in heaven. If the words of Jesus while he was on earth finally began to sink in for the disciples, then gathering to pray was certainly the right choice, for the second reading lets us all know that to follow Christ means to have a share in his sufferings.

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May 21: People of Hope

Throughout this Easter season the readings have drawn us into the experience of the early church. We have tasted the excitement and zeal of the first Christians. Now, with them, we listen to the words of Saint Peter, who reminds us that when people notice that we are people of hope, we should be ready to explain why. This challenges us. Do others even notice that we are people of hope? In a world often marked by cynicism and hopelessness, do we stand out as people who offer hope and reassurance to others? In today’s Gospel Jesus promises that when he leaves the earth he will not leave us orphaned. Today he promises to send his Advocate, the Spirit of truth who will be with us always. Let us acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit and ask the Spirit to make us people of hope.

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May 14: The Way

Today we sense the apostles’ trepidation as they begin to realize that the Lord would soon be leaving them. In their fear, they ask, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Jesus tells them that he is the way. The Easter season has been a time of growing in Easter faith so that we, too, may learn to know that Jesus is the way. We can take comfort in the Lord’s promise that he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us, his chosen people who have been called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light. As the paschal candle continues to burn during this holy season, let us remember that in baptism we were given the light of Christ. With Christ our light as the beacon lighting our way, let us march toward the glory of Pentecost.

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The Twenty-third Psalm, today’s responsorial psalm, is arguably the best known of all the psalms. The line that reads “Even though I walk in the dark valley / I fear no evil; for you are at my side / with your rod and your staff / that give me courage” (Psalm 23:4) connects this week’s scriptures to the wonderful story of the road to Emmaus, which we heard last week. The Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is constantly at our side. He calls us each by name, beckoning us into a deeper relationship with him. That call, issued to each of us at the moment of our baptism, carries with it the promise of the Good Shepherd: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

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