Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me.

- John 17

Seventh Week of Easter: May 17 - 23, 2015

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Seventh Week of Easter

The Seventh Sunday of Easter shows the Spirit at work in the Acts of the Apostles as a large group of disciples prays for guidance in choosing an apostle to replace Judas. In John's Gospel Jesus offers a moving prayer for those he loves asking the Father to “keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.” In a few US dioceses, Sunday celebrates the Ascension of the Lord.

This is our last week of the Easter Season and of the readings from the Acts of the Apostles. The Apostles carry on the work of Jesus and the future community takes shape with the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the gentiles.

The “Priestly Prayer” of Jesus which we read in the gospels this week lets us listen in on the prayer of Jesus for his disciples, and for us. He doesn't ask the Father to take us from the world, but we can tell that he is concerned for us. It is tender and feels quite personal. We are the Father's gift to Jesus, entrusted to his care and now he prays that we might all be one, that the world might know it was the Father who sent Jesus.

Friday of this week takes us to the end of the Fourth Gospel and an image of Jesus shaping Peter's ministry (and ours). If we love him, then he asks us to feed his sheep. Saturday's gospel brings us back to the Last Supper and the closing verses of John's Gospel, as well as a closing out of the Easter season's weekday readings.

Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost - the birthday of the Church. The once-frightened Apostles are on fire. Now they can speak clearly, so everyone can understand them. Jesus gives his peace to his disciples and breathes his Spirit upon them, giving them the mission to forgive and sending them to carry out his desire that we all be one.

Lord, send out your Spirit,
and renew the face of the earth.


Daily Prayer This Week

This week, let's be a Church between Ascension and Pentecost - sensing Jesus has gone before us and longing for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The invitation for us is to pray to the Father this week, as Jesus did. We pray through the desires churning around in our hearts. Getting in touch with those desires will bring us closer to preparing for celebrating Pentecost. Naming what we long for, will place us with Jesus, praying to the Father for help.

Of course, it can be tender and quite personal, speaking to our Father with a Jesus-given intimacy. And, what makes it concrete, real, and a prayer from the heart of each of us, is that we are letting all of this interact with the real things in our everyday life.

It may come easily, spontaneously, as I'm getting dressed or in any of the “background times” of my day. But, it may be difficult for me to know how to address the Father. Perhaps my father-memories aren't warm and tender. All we have to do is relax and try it. We will meet a Father who loves us and longs for us to be relaxed and speak heart-to-heart. It can start with a dialogue with myself, e.g., where I ask myself questions and then answer myself.

What am I feeling? What fears can I name? What anxieties, worries come to me as I try to get in touch with what's going on right now? Who comes to my mind? Who is struggling? With whom am I in conflict? Am I frustrated? Tired? Feeling taken for granted? Where am I 'cutting corners,' or cheating or lying to myself or others? What's missing? What am I hungry for? What am I dreaming about? What is giving me joy?

The desires that flow from my answers to these questions shape our daily prayer this week. We find that we have plenty to talk with the Father about and ask for. Perhaps we can pray:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle within them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be re-created and
join you in renewing the face of the earth.

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