Sunday, May 17, 2015, is the 7th Sunday of Easter. The readings will be Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26; 1 John 4:11-16; and John 17:11b-19.
All three readings this Sunday convey the fact that God never leaves us alone or without direction. There is a presumption of divine empowerment in each reading.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes the apostles’ selection of a replacement for Judas. Peter quotes the psalms, indicating that David (the author of the psalms) was a spokesperson for the Holy Spirit when he stated “may another take his office.” The apostles use a process of casting lots, which they believed to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to choose between Justus and Matthias.
The second reading, from John’s first letter, reminds us that God is love. If we love one another as instructed by Jesus, then God is in our midst. “If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.” Again, it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to “remain” in God and who makes us aware of our connection with God.
Sunday’s Gospel reading is a portion of the prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father during the Last Supper. Knowing that this death is imminent, Jesus prays for the disciples he will leave behind, asking God to “keep them from the evil one.” They are to remain in the world, sent forth by Jesus to continue his mission, just as the Father had sent Jesus into the world. In the portion of the prayer that continues after this passage, Jesus will prepare them to experience his presence in a new way – not in the flesh and blood they have come to know, but through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
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