7th Sunday of Easter (c)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
Sunday 8th May: 7th Sunday of Easter (c).
The first reading continues the extracts from the Acts of the Apostles. We hear the account of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, the first martyr. There are similarities to the death of Jesus – condemned by the authorities, forgiving his killers, commending his soul to Jesus whom he sees at God’s right hand.
The second reading is from the Book of Revelation. It presents the last words of the book that talk about the second coming of Jesus. The Church is urged to prepare itself for this happening. The triumph of good and justice and truth is promised in the person of Jesus who is the beginning and end of all things.
The Gospel passage is another section from the great farewell discourse from St. John’s Gospel. Jesus prays for his disciples, present and future. In particular, he asks for the gift of unity and peace.
Monday 9th May: Monday in 7th week of Easter.
Paul arrives in Ephesus. There had been many converts who had responded to the teaching of Apollos but they did not know about the Holy Spirit. Paul lays hands on them and they are filled with the Spirit. Paul stays at Ephesus well over a year, the longest stay in one place of which we are told.
Jesus reminds the disciples again that they will be scattered on his behalf. He also encourages them not to be afraid for he has conquered the world.
Tuesday 10th May: Tuesday in 7th week of Easter.
After many joys and difficulties in Ephesus, Paul now has to leave. He sums up all his work. He talks of his feeling of foreboding that he will become a prisoner for the Lord. Even then, he must still witness to the Good News.
Jesus prays to his Father. The hour has come to glorify his son. He then prays for his disciples and entrusts them to the care of the Father.
Wednesday 11th May: Wednesday in 7th week of Easter.
Paul continues his farewell speech to the Ephesians. He asks the leaders to be on their guard against false teachers, even from within their own ranks. He reminds them to be generous in the care and support of each other.
Jesus continues his prayer to the Father for the disciples. ‘Keep them true to your name…protect them from the evil one.’
Thursday 12th May: Thursday in 7th week of Easter.
Paul returns to Jerusalem and causes a riot in the Temple from which he has to be rescued by the Roman guards. Many tried to kill him but he is given the opportunity, by the authorities, of explaining what he was doing. He tells the story of his own conversion and as a result causes division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He has to be rescued.
We hear another part of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples. He prays for unity amongst them, a unity that mirrors the unity between the Father and Jesus. His prayer goes beyond his immediate disciples but looks forward to include all Christians of all time.
Friday 13th May: Friday in 7th week of Easter.
The Jews continue to conspire against Paul. He is moved to Caesarea and there appeals his case to Rome. The Roman Governor is determined to agree to Paul’s request to be treated as a Roman citizen. It is agreed that he should go there for trial. In this way Paul fulfils the prophecy that he must bear witness to Jesus in Rome itself.
We move towards the end of John’s Gospel. Peter assures Jesus three times of his love. This mirrors the three fold denials from earlier. He repents and is forgiven and made shepherd of the flock.
Saturday 14th May: Feast of St. Matthias.
After Our Lord’s Ascension, Matthias was chosen by lot to fill the place of Judas among the Apostles. His election is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles and, outside this, we hear no more about him in the New Testament. Nothing is known of his martyrdom. Legend says that he was either crucified or beheaded.
He is risen as he said