Sunday 21st May: 6th Sunday of Easter (a)
The first reading today tells of the ministry of the apostles Philip, Peter and John in a Samaritan town They accept the message of the Gospel with joy and are baptised. We hear how the Holy Spirit comes down on them to help in their new found faith.
‘Have your answer ready.’ That is how St. Peter tells the people to live their lives. They will be questioned and so need to be able to explain their faith and to live blameless lives.
The Gospel reminds us that Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be sent on all who love him. He will be the Advocate, the companion who will give strength, courage and wisdom on the journey of faith.
Monday 22nd May: Monday in the 6th week of Easter.
In the two weeks from now until Pentecost, our attention is drawn to the Holy Spirit.
Paul, on his second missionary journey, reaches Macedonia and goes to a town called Philippi where he remains to preach and teach.
Jesus again tells the disciples that the ‘Advocate’ will be his witness. They, in turn, will be his witnesses and this will bring its own share of suffering.
Tuesday 23rd May: Tuesday in the 6th week of Easter.
Paul is again in trouble when he casts an evil spirit out of a fortune-teller. He was arrested, beaten and imprisoned.
Jesus tells his disciples not be sad because he is going away. He repeats his promise of sending the Advocate who will show the world about sin, about who was right and about judgement.
Wednesday 24th May: Wednesday in the sixth week of Easter.
Paul travels to the great city of Athens where he preaches to the Greeks. He tries to show them that their statue to an unknown God was really one to the God about whom he was preaching. As soon as he started preaching about the risen Christ, many of them laughed at him and refused to accept his teaching.
Jesus continues teaching the disciples about the work of the Advocate he is sending to them. The Spirit of Truth will lead them to the complete truth. He will help them understand more clearly the link between Jesus and the Father.
Thursday 25th May: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.
The Ascension of Jesus is the climax of his victory over sin and death. It is a day of joy and hope. Jesus wants us to share in his victory. It is important to realise that he has not left us; he is still with us helping us in our struggles.
The first reading describes the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and his promise to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples.
In the second reading, Paul describes the meaning of the Ascension – God raised Jesus above all earthly powers and makes him head of the Church, Lord of creation.
In the Gospel, Jesus commissions the apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations and promises to remain with them always.
Friday 26th May: Memorial of St. Philip Neri.
Philip Neri was born in Florence in 1515. In his late teens he moved to Rome where he spent to years praying about his life and the way forward. His only practical work during this time was teaching his host’s two sons. He began working with the people whose faith was at a low ebb and was ordained in 1551. He became known as a great confessor. He was helped by a group of other priests and this was the start of the Oratorians. He worked hard until his death in 1595
Saturday 27th May: Saturday in the sixth week of Easter.
When we pray, what do we want God to do? Do we want to change him so that he does what we want or do we seek his will for us? Do we make time to listen to him in prayer? Do we realise that as well as speaking to us in his word, in Christ, in the Gospel, he speaks to us in our personal history, the events of life, the people around us?
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.