you give us all that we need, there is nothing that we lack. Guide us so that we do not become easily distracted with what is not essential. Help us when we are confused or uncertain about a decision, to turn to you when we need guidance and support. May we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and aid our living out the joy your Resurrection brings. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, May 26, 2019 - My Peace I Give to You
Today’s Readings: Acts 15:12, 22–29; Psalm 67:2–3, 5, 6, 8; Revelation 21:10–14, 22–23; John 14:23–29. After the disciples have followed Jesus for three years, one can imagine that they would be apprehensive and fearful at the thought of his leaving them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains to the disciples how they are to live when he has gone to the Father. They are to keep his word, rely on the Holy Spirit, and live with untroubled hearts. In this way, they will live out his love in community.
Jesus gives his followers the gift of peace. As he states, this gift of peace is “not as the world gives.” The peace of Christ is not fleeting as is the peace that occurs when nations or individuals cease to be engaged in conflict. This peace is a sign of unity with the Father, Son, and Spirit. When believers remain in Christ, they are at peace.
As is seen in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, peace may come after discerning the guidance the Holy Spirit provides. The early Church leaders needed to have many difficult discussions as they decided the rules necessary for followers. Regarding the decision on circumcision, the issue was debated and a determination made with the Holy Spirit. Just as the early Church relied on the Spirit, we need to do so. This week consider the place of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Monday, May 27 - The Holy Trinity
Jesus speaks of the Trinity as he tells his disciples that he will send the Spirit from the Father. The mystery of the Trinity is central to our faith and is expressed each time the Sign of the Cross is made. As all sign themselves with the cross at the beginning of Mass, the Trinitarian dynamic of worship is recognized. Today’s Readings: Acts 16:11–15; Psalm 149:1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 9; John 15:26–16:4.
Tuesday, May 28 - The Paraclete
After being with him for three years, Jesus is preparing his disciples for the day when he will no longer be physically present among them. Unless he goes to the Father, the Paraclete will not be able to come. The word Paraclete means “advocate,” a support to comfort and to console. Journal today on how the Holy Spirit has been a source of comfort or consolation in your life. Today’s Readings: Acts 16:22–34; Psalm 138:1–2, 2–3, 7–8; John 16:5–11.
Wednesday, May 29 - Spirit of Truth
Jesus tells his disciples that he has so much more to tell them, but they cannot bear it now. Jesus knew that it was not possible for them to absorb the fullness of all that he had to teach them at that moment. It should be comforting to us as well that Jesus still teaches us, reveals himself to us, and allows us to hear his message and meditate upon it. May the Spirit guide us to the truth. Today’s Readings: Acts 17:15, 22—18; Psalm 148:1–2, 11–12, 12–14, 14; John 16:12–15.
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Change is difficult, since we become dependent upon what is familiar to us. The disciples are used to Jesus’ presence, but soon he will be absent. They do not grasp that he will be with them in his Word and in his Body and Blood. Even when they are in the depths of their mourning, he will be present and walk with them in their sadness. How do we allow Jesus to be present to us in times of sorrow or sudden change? Today’s Readings: Acts 18:1–8; Psalm 98:1, 2–3, 3–4; John 16:16–20.
Friday, May 31 - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Imagine the humility with which Mary and Elizabeth greeted each other. The two women rejoice in each other’s company and then Mary praises God for blessing her with the privilege of birthing the Messiah. Today pray the Magnificat and share in Mary’s joy that God has “remembered his promise of mercy.” Today’s Readings: Zephaniah 3:14–18a or Romans 12:9–16; Isaiah 12:2–3, 4bcd, 5–6; Luke 1:39–56.
Saturday, June 1 - Ask and You Shall Receive
What type or form of prayer is most comfortable for you? Do you pray traditional prayers or do you offer a spontaneous prayer? Do you offer prayers of thanksgiving or blessing? Do you seem to pray more often for what you desire? Do you write your prayers or offer them to God in song? Gather your family around the table and ask them to choose a form of prayer that is new to them and pray together. Today’s Readings: Acts 18:23–28; Psalm 47:2–3, 8–9, 10; John 16:23b–28.
The Ascension of the Lord
Witness to the World
who fills our heart with joy at the Ascension of your Son, Jesus, inspire us to carry your message to the corners of our world, and to be witnesses in our homes and neighborhoods, in our places of work and study, and among all those who long for your light and life. Bless our words and actions, so that those we encounter may know the happiness and peace of being your disciple. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, June 2, 2019 - Joyfully Praising God
Today’s Readings: Acts 1:1–11; Psalm 47:2–3, 6–7, 8–9; Ephesians 1:17–23; Luke 24:46–53. The reaction of the disciples to Jesus’ Ascension was vastly different than to his Crucifixion or even Resurrection. Luke’s account in Acts seems to tell us that, at the Ascension, the Apostles were struck with awe, “looking intently” as he left their sight. In the Gospel, Luke writes that the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy, continually in the temple praising God.” Such a response is in contrast to their hiding in the upper room. During the forty days since the Resurrection, their faith has matured. Jesus assisted them with their faith as he was present to them, breaking open the Scriptures, filling their nets, granting peace, and breaking bread. Though for three years they had witnessed his preaching and miracles, they needed this time. Nurtured in their faith, they accompany Jesus to Bethany, where he ascended.
Two thousand years later, disciples are to continue the joyful spirit and praise God in all they do. The disciples received a glimpse of the glory of God the Father on that hill near Bethany, and in their three years accompanying Jesus they have received a glimpse of the Parousia, a time when there will be no more sickness or disease, no death or loss, no hunger or conflict; all things will be made new. We now stand in that time between Christ’s glorious Ascension and the resurrection of our body. Until then, it is our mission to spread his Word and baptize in his name.
Monday, June 3 - Courage and Peace
The disciples assure Jesus that they know everything about him and believe he came from God. However, Jesus tells them that they will scatter, leaving him alone in his suffering. In this moment, as he speaks of their abandonment, he comforts them with words of peace and courage. In what area of your life is it difficult to afford the courage to proclaim Jesus as Lord? Today’s Readings: Acts 19:1–8; Psalm 68:2–3, 4–5, 6–7; John 16:29–33.
Tuesday, June 4 - The Glory of God
Jesus’ prayer for his disciples is also a prayer for Christians today. Spend some time in prayer today, asking Christ to bless all those followers who have shared and continue to share the Good News of faith with you. Ask Christ to hold close all those who have wandered away and do not feel as though they belong to him. May we be united for the glory of God. Today’s Readings: Acts 20:17–27; Psalm 68:10–11, 20–21; John 17:1–11.
Wednesday, June 5 - Keep Watch over the Flock
The Acts of the Apostles offers a beautiful image of Paul among the elders of the church of Ephesus. After he addresses them, he kneels down and prays with them. They are so moved by his words and the realization that they will not see him again, they begin to weep without restraint and throw their arms around him and kiss him. May our love of God and neighbor move us so that there is no doubt about the work of the Spirit in our heart. Today’s Readings: Acts 20:28–38; Psalm 68:29–30, 33, 35, 35–36; John 17:11–19.
Thursday, June 6 - Hidden Gifts
While praying, Jesus thanks the Father for the gift of his followers. Imagine Jesus’ gratitude for human beings who are messy, weak, and flawed. Jesus responds to this gift with a wish that believers be with Jesus and see his glory. Considering that all are a gift to the Son, reflect on the sacredness within each person. Today’s Readings: Acts 22:30; 23:6–11; Psalm 16:1–2, 5, 7–8, 9–10, 11; John 17:20–26.
Friday, June 7 - Ancient Cultures
Ancient cultures often speak of both living well and dying well. It is unusual today to hear people look forward to dying, but what if we knew our final act would give glory to God? That is what Jesus promises Peter regarding his death. Would such knowledge transform the way you live? Have you considered how every moment of our lives, our faith, and our love of the Lord give glory to God? Today’s Readings: Acts 25:13–21; Psalm 103:1–2, 11–12, 19–20; John 21:15–19.
Saturday, June 8 - One Book
Have you ever been so captivated by an experience that time seems to have been suspended? The closing verse of the Gospel hints at this very nature of Jesus Christ. John writes that this book of the Bible is his testimony to the life of Christ. He could have written more but the information about Jesus is more than the books that could be written. More important than words is the relationship that is formed with Christ. Take to heart John’s words to grow in love with Christ. Today’s Readings: Acts 28:16–20, 30–31; Psalm 11:4, 5, 7; John 21:20–25.
Abundance of the Holy Spirit
Father of all nations, you gather your people so that we may know the power of the Holy Spirit, alive in the driving wind and the tongues of fire. May we be filled abundantly with your Spirit, so that we can proclaim your holy name to every man, woman, and child throughout the earth. May all the world know the mighty deeds of our God. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Our Soul’s Most Welcome Guest
Today’s Readings: Acts 2:1–11; Psalm 104:1, 24, 25–30, 31, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b–7, 12–13; John 20:19–23. The Easter season ends with the Solemnity of Pentecost, which marks the disciples going into the world. In today’s reading from Acts, the disciples are gathered in the upper room, the place where they encountered the Risen Christ and where they received the gift of his Body and Blood. Here, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are empowered for the mission that Jesus has entrusted to them.
Crowds in the streets of Jerusalem understand when the disciples speak, even though the gathering consists of people from many nations. This group symbolizes the worldwide mission of the Church. The Spirit will guide and encourage the disciples as they journey beyond Jerusalem to share the Word of God with all people.
The work of the disciples continues today. In our lives, followers of Christ are to welcome and look to the Holy Spirit for guidance as they continue to make God known. Some may be astounded at this and others bewildered. Still, we need to speak “of the mighty works of God.” Take some time in quiet and begin a prayer with “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” In your own words, request courage, strength, and a joyful spirit for carrying out your discipleship. Seek to make the Spirit a welcome guest in your prayer life.
This Week and Beyond
Monday, June 10 - Mary, Mother of the Church
A year ago, Pope Francis proclaimed that the day after Pentecost would be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. In the document in which this day was promulgated, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments recalls Mary and John standing at the foot of the Cross. There, the document states, Mary welcomed “all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters reborn unto eternal life.” Today’s Readings: Genesis 3:9–15, 20 or Acts 1:12–14; Psalm 87:1–2, 3 and 5, 6–7; John 19:25–34.
Tuesday, June 11 - St. Barnabas
Barnabas was a companion of St. Paul, and the account of their journeys is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. This disciple was not one of the original Twelve Apostles, but tradition holds that he was a part of the seventy-two commissioned by Jesus to preach. He is, then, given the title of Apostle. Acting as a mediator, he is responsible for introducing Paul, who persecuted the early Christians, to the other Apostles. Barnabas is invoked as a peacemaker. Today’s Readings: Acts 11:21b–26; 13:1–3; Psalm 98:1, 2–3ab, 3cd–4, 5–6; Matthew 5:13–16.
Thursday, June 13 - St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan friar, loved Sacred Scripture and had a gift for preaching. He especially valued his Book of Psalms that he had filled with notes and comments that he used to teach other friars. When a young novice stole Anthony’s book while leaving the community, Anthony prayed that it would be found or returned to him. Soon after, both the book and the young man returned to the community. St. Anthony is invoked as the patron saint of lost articles. Today’s Readings: 2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1, 3–6; Psalm 85:9ab and 10, 11–12, 13–14; Matthew 5:20–26.
Monday, July 22 - St. Mary Magdalene
In elevating the day when Mary Magdalene is honored from a memorial to a feast day, Pope Francis recognized her role as an evangelizer. Most saints are honored on the liturgical calendar with a day designated as a “memorial.” Days of particular significance and the days honoring the Twelve Apostles are feast days. Mary Magdalene has long been called the apostle to the Apostles for proclaiming to them that Jesus had risen. Today’s Readings: Song of Songs 3:1–4b or 2 Corinthians 5:14–17; Psalm 63:2, 3–4, 5–6, 8–9; John 20:1–2, 11–18.
Thursday, July 25 - St. James the Apostle
James was among the first Apostles called by Jesus. He and his brother John were fishing with their father in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Their response to Jesus’ call was to immediately abandon their nets and follow. Along with Peter and John, James witnessed the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and was with the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. Today’s Readings: 2 Corinthians 4:7–15; Psalm 126:1bc–2ad, 2cd–3, 4–5, 6; Matthew 20:20–28.
Wednesday, August 21-St. Pius X
Pope Pius X desired that the faithful receive Holy Communion frequently. His devotion to the Eucharist brought him to be called the “Pope of the Blessed Sacrament.” He is the patron saint of first communicants and the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. His motto was “Restore all things in Christ, so that Christ may be all in all.” How does the Eucharist assist the Church and each of us to live Pope St. Pius X’s motto? Today’s Readings: Judges 9:6–1; Psalm 9:2–3, 4–5, 21–22, 25 and 27; Matthew 20:1–16.