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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 20:28-38): At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus: «Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.

And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’».

When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. They were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
Responsorial Psalm: 67
R/. Sing to God, o kingdoms of the earth.
Show forth, O God, your power, the power, O God, with which you took our part; for your temple in Jerusalem let the kings bring you gifts.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, chant praise to the Lord who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens. Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power: «Confess the power of God!».

Over Israel is his majesty; his power is in the skies. Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 17:17): Alleluia. Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 17,11b-19): Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

«They may share my joy completely»

Fr. Thomas LANE (Emmitsburg, Maryland, United States)

Today, we live in a world which does not know how to be truly happy with the happiness of Jesus, a world which seeks the happiness of Jesus in all the wrong places and in the wrong ways. Seeking happiness without Jesus only leads to deeper unhappiness. Just look at the soaps on TV, there is always somebody in trouble. The soaps on TV show us the misery of a godless life.

But we want to live this day with the joy of Jesus. Jesus prayed to his Father in our Gospel today, “I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely” (Jn 17,13). Notice that Jesus wants his joy to be complete in us. He wants us to be full of his joy. This does not mean that we will not have crosses, for “the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world” (Jn 17,14), but Jesus expects us to live with his joy no matter what the world thinks of us. The joy of Jesus is to permeate us to our very core while the superficial rumblings of a godless world should not penetrate us.

Today then let us live with the joy of Jesus. How can we acquire more and more of this joy of Jesus? Obviously from Jesus himself. Jesus is the only one who gives us the true joy that the world is lacking as we see in the soaps on TV. Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” (Jn 15,7). Then let us spend time each day in prayer with the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let us eat and consume the words of Jesus in the Scriptures, let them be our food, so that we may be satiated with the joy of Jesus: “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon.” (Benedict XVI).