An online Community for Prayerful Scripture Reflection.
During this time, when many of our usual ways of expressing our Faith have been removed, and we can no longer gather together due to the Coronavirus, it is all the more important that we find ways to invest in our relationships with God and each other.
Here is one small way that we can communicate our faith and support each other whilst encouraging daily prayer with a Scriptural focus. It is also a great way for people who are usually involved with Metanoia Project groups and events to keep in touch and continue to feel part of the Metanoia family as well as the wider Church community.
God wants to speak to us all and has given us His Word as a constant source of life and relationship with Him. The aim of this group is to encourage each other to spend time each day praying with Scripture and allowing God to speak to us. Please then share your thoughts, questions and reflections to help us all hear from our Loving Father.
Metanoia Project ‘The God Who Speaks’ Scripture Reflection Group
**As it is a Solemnity, after the Gospel passage you will find some commentary split into two sections.**
**1) Some teaching points to consider in this passage**
**2) What does this mean for me and my life today?**
**We hope you will find it useful!**
**Gospel Matthew 16:13-19**
**When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’**
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’
**1) Some teaching points to consider in this passage**
Jesus has taken the disciples to Caesarea Philippi. We are told of nothing else that happens here yet all three synoptic Gospels include this important interaction. Why take the disciples to this particular place which was a predominantly Gentile city north of Palestine and would have been a day’s walk away? The location is everything! Originally known as Paneas, this was the site of a shrine to the Greco-Roman god Pan where animal and even human sacrifices were made as well as sexual rites to the god of fertility. The Shrine was based around a deep cave out of which flowed a vast spring, so deep in fact that the people believed it must flow from the underworld. During Jesus’ time, the city had been renamed Caesarea Philippi by Philip the son of Herod the Great – named after Caesar Tiberius (son of Caesar Augustus) and himself, both considered sons of ‘gods’. This was a place that Jews would avoid and would be warned against by their Rabbis, yet Jesus deliberately takes his disciples right to the heart of it.
In front of both the pagan shrine and the temple erected to the ‘sons of gods’, Jesus asks the key question which prompts Peter’s great confession ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’. Peter declares confidently in the midst of all these other ideas of god that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah, not just a prophet and that He is the Son of the *Living* God, not like these ‘gods’ who are dead and gone. Jesus then assures them that even the gates of the underworld, again illustrated in front of them, cannot stand against Him.
**Who do people say I am?**
This is still a pertinent question today. Who do the voices around you say Jesus is? Some of the most common answers might be ‘a wise teacher who said some good things’, ‘an unassuming guy who just wanted to point people to God and then others have used him for their agenda, falsely making him into a god so that they could seize power’ or even ‘a fairy tale who never existed’. All of these ideas can be easily debunked with even a small amount of study, but let’s face it, most people just want their opinion regardless of how well formed it may or may not be. If I were to ask most people ‘do you believe in Socrates and what he stood for?’ their answer would most likely be more measured. A quick search on the internet will reveal that Socrates was a Greek philosopher from [Athens](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_Athens) who is credited as one of the founders of [Western philosophy](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_philosophy). Yet Socrates left no writings of his own behind. We mainly know of him, his sayings and philosophies from his disciple Plato. However, no one would say he was just a fairy tale or that Plato just took advantage of the situation to spread his own agenda despite the fact that even over 2000 years later the ‘Socratic method’ is used to examine key moral concepts such as Good and [Justice](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice) and is considered a defining element of legal education.
So why is there such resistance and reluctance to accept that Jesus really existed or that He is God? Because, to truly believe in Jesus, is not comfortable and convenient. Believing in Socrates and his ideas of philosophy, does not necessarily affect my day to day life, but if Jesus is Who He said He is then I have to sit up and listen and my life will never be the same again!
The word ‘church’ has become so familiar to us that you might be forgiven for thinking that Jesus talks about it a lot. But you would be mistaken. Jesus only refers to the church twice in all of the Gospel accounts (both in Matthew’s account, see also Matt 18:17) and the first is here in today’s passage. Much more often Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God, what it is like, how you enter, that everyone has a place etc. The word ‘church’ is used in the Greek Old Testament however to denote the congregation or assembly of Israel united to God and in today’s passage we see Jesus forming a new Covenant community of which Peter is to take the lead and, along with the other disciples, build this new community.
**You are Cephas
**‘Petros’ from which we derive ‘Peter’ was a common word in Greek but there is no evidence that it was ever used as a name for a person before Jesus gave it to Simon in this encounter. Jesus renames Simon ‘the rock’ upon which He will build His Church. This is further compounded by the fact that Jesus would most likely have been speaking in Aramaic, using the word ‘kepha’ from which we get ‘Cephas’ (see John 1:42, 1 Cor 1:12, 15:5, Gal 1:8 etc) denoting a ‘sizeable rock’, one suitable to be used as a foundation.
There are also many important comparisons between Peter and Abraham in this passage. Both are blessed by God (Matt 16:17, Gen 14:19), both respond with heroic faith (Matt 16:16, Heb 11:8), both receive a divine mission (Matt 16:18, Gen 12:1-3), both have names changed (Matt 18:18, Gen 17:5), both called ‘rock’ (Matt 18:18, Is 51:1-2), both assured authority over enemies (Matt 18:18, Gen 22:17). Abraham is the Father of Faith in the Old Covenant and now Peter becomes the Father of Faith in the New Covenant.
**Keys and Authority**
In the Old Testament Davidic empire, the King appointed a cabinet of ministers for specific tasks in the kingdom (1 Kings 4:1-6, 2 Kings 18:37). Of these, a prime minister was elevated to unique status of authority, ranking second only to the King. This government structure was common among kingdoms in the ancient Near East (Gen 41:39-43, Esther 3:1-2). Jesus here evokes Isaiah 22:15-25, where the prime minister’s office is handed on to a successor by the symbolic act of handing on the ‘key of the house (ie kingdom) of David’. In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, Jesus is the new Davidic King Who appoints Peter the prime minister of the kingdom of heaven in the church. As in Isaiah 22, Peter’s position is designed for him and his successors with the office meant to endure as long as the kingdom itself. Entrusted with the keys, Peter wields Christ’s own royal authority.
**2) What does this mean for me and my life today?**
**Revealed by my Father in Heaven
**The revelation of Who Jesus is can only come from the Father, no ‘flesh and blood’ can ever make you believe. That is why faith is a gift! Of course there are ways and means of helping others and ourselves be more open to receiving that gift, but ultimately we cannot earn or create faith. But the good news is that faith is a free gift that God desires for each and every person – He desperately wants you to know Him and His unconditional love for you. And all those for whom you desire that faith, maybe spouses, children, friends, the lost etc, God desperately wants that for them too! We cannot give them that gift but we can help them want it by loving them and sharing our own faith with them so they know what they are missing!
**Have you noticed that Peter receives his clear identity in today’s passage and that it only happens after he has understood Who Jesus truly is? We can only know who we truly are when we know *Whose* we truly are. There are so many labels that we put on ourselves to ‘find’ our identity today – ‘the clever/stupid one’, ‘the outgoing/shy one’, ‘the gay/straight one’, ‘the success/failure’, ‘the holy/sinful one’, ‘the passionate/purposeless one’, ‘the beautiful/ugly one’ ‘the one who conforms/doesn’t conform’, the spouse, child, sibling, loner, sportsman, musician, nerd, entrepreneur, key-worker etc, etc etc…..
Of course all of these shape our life experience and our character BUT THEY ARE NOT WHO WE ARE!!! You are a precious Child of the Living God, nothing more and nothing less (as if there could be anything more!) Your identity is only found in Him because that is how you were created – to be one with Him forever! As St Augustine of Hippo said ‘“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” And that is not restrictive but completely freeing! You have nothing to prove and nothing to lose by being completely and utterly yourself and by devoting all of your being, ambitions, character, sexuality, fears, doubts, hopes and relationships to Him Who is your Loving Father. You can confidently allow Him Who has perfect plans for you to continually transform you into the person He created you to be before the temptations, struggles, hurts, and burdens of this world effected your ‘identity’. God has something so much more wonderful for you than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)
**He will Build**
Although Jesus appoints Peter as the rock upon which the church will be built, notice that Jesus says* I* will build *MY* church. It can sometimes seem like the Church has lost her way, that we are not living the call that Jesus has given us and that there is much to be done. Well, perhaps that is the case, but it is important to remember that Jesus is building His Church not my church as I would like it. Does that mean that I should just sit back and allow Him to get on with it? Absolutely not!!! He calls us to be co-operators with Him. But we must always remember exactly that – we are co-operators, not lone operators. Jesus is the head and we are the body. A body that is pulling in all different directions will get no-where and only damage itself. But of course Jesus wants the Church to be as holy, good and beautiful as possible and most importantly to reach out with His Life-giving Truth, and so we must ensure we are listening to Him and following His lead.
**Who do you say I am?
**Jesus still asks each one of us this essential question every day – But YOU, who do YOU say I am? Our image of God can be influenced by so many things from our upbringing to the media, from our experience of Church to our experience of relationships with those outside the Church. Each of these could have a positive or negative impact. So how do we ensure that we get to know Jesus as He truly wants to be known? That is a prayer I make often: ‘Jesus, I want to know You as You want to be known’ and I spend time listening to His Word, examining His character and how He loves by reading the Scriptures. I hear from other Christians who speak or sing about Who Jesus is and I weigh that up against what I have found in the Scriptures. I read and discuss with other people what they think and again weigh it up against the evidence I can find. I trust the Holy Mother Church who has such beautiful teaching that challenges me to expand my knowledge and understanding. And above all I ‘waste’ time with Jesus in prayer, siting, listening, asking for Him to increase the capacity of my heart so that I can know Him more fully. You may have lots of other ways that you do this too! Who do YOU say Jesus is and how do you allow that image to be challenged, shaped and expanded so that you come closer to knowing Him in His fullness?
-Ruth ... See MoreSee Less
As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village.
As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’
Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say goodbye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’
Today’s reading starts with Jesus taking the road to Jerusalem and we hear how the Samaritans would not receive him. James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to punish them, but Jesus wasn’t interested in retaliation, he didn’t get distracted with the rejection of the Samaritans. It says “Jesus resolutely took the road to Jerusalem” – he was focussed on what was ahead, on the cross and dying for our sins so that we could be forgiven. How often do I get distracted by people’s reactions around me? Thankfully Jesus didn’t let the rejection of others stop him from following God’s plan and making a way so that we could receive freedom and healing.
James and John wanted revenge for what the Samaritans did – they wanted to teach them a lesson. When we’re hurt or offended by someone it’s easy to want to see them punished. But Jesus’ way is always one of forgiveness and unconditional love. God has given us a free will and he doesn’t punish us when we get it wrong. Nothing we do can change his love for us.
In the next verses Jesus is making a strong point that he needs to be the centre of our life and our relationship with him needs to be more important than anything or anyone else. He’s not saying not to love our families, friends, and home but that our love for him must be first. Do I truly love Jesus above everyone and everything else in my life?
The first man said, “I will follow you wherever you go”. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and death on a cross, he knew this man’s heart so explained there is a cost in following him. It reminded me of Peter at the last supper saying “I will lay down my life for you” but soon after he denied Jesus three times. It’s easy to make big gestures without fully thinking them through. There is a cost to following Jesus and it won’t always be easy. Peter did eventually lay down his life for Jesus but only after he was empowered by the Holy Spirit. The second reading today reminds us that we need to be led by the Spirit.
Jesus’ response was “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”. Through volunteering in the homeless drop-in, I’ve meet refugees who have had to leave their country, their homes and their families when they have converted to Christianity. Their love for Jesus was so strong that they’ve given all. We may not be asked to do something so radical, but every day Jesus asks us to put him first and to share our faith with others - “your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God”. Is sharing the good news a high priority in my life?
Two of the people in the reading said they would follow Jesus “but ….” We may say “I will follow you Jesus but first let me ….” What are the “buts” in my life that stop me moving forward with Jesus? From truly giving myself fully to him?
There is often a crucial moment or special grace to do something and if not done at that time, then that moment can be lost. We hear about Elisha in the first reading who recognised that moment and left everything to follow Elijah.
Elisha had been ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen when he was called and Jesus refers to ploughing in the gospel “once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”. Imagine ploughing a field in the way Elisha was. You would need to keep looking forward to guide the oxen and ensure the furrows were straight. Jesus is reminding us that we can’t keep looking back at the past, living with regrets or thinking how good things were before. We need to keep moving forward and trusting our lives (past, present and future) into God’s hands. I’m reminded of the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus, no looking back, no looking back”. We are called to move forward in our faith and Jesus promises us that when follow him we are never alone because he walks with us and gives us the Holy Spirit to help us.
It is a challenging reading today, but Jesus doesn’t want us to feel condemnation if we’re not living up to this but to come to him just as we are. We can take comfort that the disciples were not perfect, but they followed Jesus and were loved and taught by him.
The song in my heart today is “Jesus be the centre, be my source, be my light, Jesus …” Amen
- Christine ... See MoreSee Less
**The feeding of the five thousand**
Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.
It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.
Today we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. We celebrate the real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. A food and drink for the soul. In my worldly life I need to feed my body with food and water that God has given me so that I may live here on earth, but God has also given me a food that truly came down from Heaven, a Heavenly Feast which we receive every time we participate in the Holy Mass. It is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
In today’s Gospel we hear Luke’s account of the feeding of the five thousand. This account is so important because it is only one of two miracles mentioned in all four Gospels. The Resurrection is the only other miracle that is mentioned in all four Gospels. This shows me that the Eucharist is very important for me and I must participate in the Holy Mass every day or at least every Sunday and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is showing me in today’s Gospel that there he gives with abundance to everyone who receives the Feast.
Verse 16 stood out to me .’Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd’ . In a similar way we hear this at Mass.
‘On the day before He was to suffer, He took the bread in His Holy and Venerable Hands, and with His Eyes raise to Heaven to You, O God, His Father, giving thanks, He said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, saying: Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is My Body which will be given up for you.’
‘In a similar way, when the supper was ended, He took the precious chalice in His Holy and Venerable hands and once more giving You thanks, He said the blessing and gave the chalice to His disciples, saying: Take this all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of My Blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of Me.’
So, what does this mean for me in my life in today’s world? That there is true presence of Jesus in the Body and Blood of Jesus when we are given and receive the Eucharist, something I should proudly talk about to others when I talk to them about the Holy Mass.
Tony. ... See MoreSee Less
Beautifully put Tony. 🙏 Thank you!
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
*All he tells you*
*will be taken from what is mine.*’
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
the God who is, who was, and who is to come.
This is today's Gospel acclamation, for the feast of the Holy Trinity. Glory to God. Our God. The only God. Who is three in one.
I often feel that we have to be childlike in parts of our faith. To accept things because that is the way it is and is far beyond our comprehension. This has to be true of the trinity.
The first line of today's gospel helps me to accept this. "I still have many things to say you but they would be too much for you now". God understands us completely. He knows what we need, what we can cope with and the perfect time for everything.
God doesn't keep secrets from us. One day we will know the "complete truth". Until that day we need to continue to have faith. That God the father has a plan. That Jesus has told us the truth. And that the Holy Spirit will guide and accompany us.
Being a mother helps me to accept that we need a simplified explanation of things. the difference in understanding between myself and my children is huge, and that difference is insignificant in comparison to the difference between our understanding and God's. Of course we need to be educated in words and ideas that we can comprehend. We also need to accept things as readily as children.
Do I give glory to God the father, for who He is, for what He has planned and created for me? Do I give glory to God the son for who He is, for becoming one of us, for saving us and for teaching us who God is. Do I gove glory to God the Holy Spirit for who He is, for walking with us, for revealing God's plans for us and for leading us.
What does this mean for me and my life today?
Whilst I believe that we should be like children in accepting things in our faith, this doesnt mean we get a 'free ride' that we can claim laziness in our faith is being childlike. While I believe we must accept things we cannot understand, we must also know why accept them. Children accept things that they are told by people they know and trust. We must know and trust God in our lives to be able to accept all that He is and all that He tells us.
I need to make sure that I know God in all His forms enough to trust Him. Enough to hear Him speak to me and enough to see Him working in my life and in the world around me. Do I make time for God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? To have a relationship with each part of God's being that I can allow God to work in every part of my life as He wishes to.
Does every part of me give glory to every part of God?
-Nora ... See MoreSee Less
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Happy birthday Church! What an amazing feast we celebrate today, the power of the Holy Spirit filling the Apostles and enabling them to proclaim the Risen Lord to everyone! The promise made by Jesus at His Ascension is now fulfilled and we see the great power of the Holy Spirit at work.
In today's Gospel I am immediately taken by how the Holy Spirit is given to the Disciples.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. The very breath of God poured out for the Disciples. It speaks to me of God's great intimacy and love for us.
Today's feast marks the end of the Easter season and the beginning of the Church. Under the stewardship of St Peter we know that thousands were Baptised and came to follow Christ. In the days leading up to Pentecost, the faithful were gathered in humble and trusting expectation that the Father's promise, announced by Jesus, would be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit is a creator Spirit, portrayed as the breath of the Risen Lord. The breath of God is life, the new life of the Holy Spirit welcomes us anew into God's family.
This precious gift of the Holy Spirit is something to be shared with others. Just like the first evangelisers did, we too are called to live Spirit filled lives to share the love of God with all around us. This is a great time to reflect on how much of our own lives are Spirit-led and Spirit-filled so that we too can share in the evangelistic mission.
In addition, this Gospel also tells us how Jesus gave to the Apostles the power and authority to forgive sins. “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” These wonderful words, which bind together the presence of the Holy Spirit with the gift of forgiveness, are referred to directly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But they have a much wider meaning. Those words remind us of the Christian vocation we all have, to love and forgive as we have been loved and forgiven. How much is our world in need of love and healing mercy at this moment?!
Let us pray together, Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love, Alleluia!
-Jonathan ... See MoreSee Less
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.’
On Thursday, The Ascension taught us Jesus lives in Heaven and on earth with us. He is here with us now. Next Sunday, Pentecost will teach us how amazing the Holy Spirit is. What about these mid few days between those special days.? Like the Disciples we are called to pray, trust and wait, full of hope and expectancy. We are living in amazing days but so much more goodness is to come - God is in control and it is all so very exciting.
In today’s Gospel we hear how Jesus is desperate to foster unity among people. Just as he is in union with the Father. Jesus has a mission to demonstrate and enable us to know the Father and the way He knows us, so that we may be one, just as the way Jesus and the Father are one.
Jesus’ prayer could be full of despair, the disciples are confused, but Jesus is undeterred by this and confidently leaves the future of all mankind in God’s hands.
Jesus is to go away, but these disciples and the future disciples will not be alone. The Holy Spirit will be with them- the Holy Spirit will accompany, strengthen, and guide them. They only have to say yes.- we only have to say yes!
In verse 21 ,’( Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. )we hear Jesus is telling God that the disciples must be in union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In doing this these men will change the world – in doing this **WE **will change the world!
We know the disciples were distraught when Jesus died, today I’m really made aware reading this how distraught Jesus was as he prepared to leave them. Today’s prayer is Jesus’ cry of the heart which is full of perfect love and perfect faith. Jesus knows God has a plan and God will take care of them, so he places the disciples and their futures into God’s hands.
Can we all think of a time in our lives where we had to listen to God, but that decision meant life didn’t make sense to anyone else? In saying yes to the plan we know God is asking us to say yes to, we know better days are to come.
It could be as simple as stopping dance lessons at the dance school your teenager has been going to since the age of two, as you know God will open another door and His plan is better than yours. It was my job as a Mum to place this decision into God’s hands and trust he would write the ending better me. It didn’t make sense to anyone else. God did open another door and what was there was so beautiful and full of abundant love, this Mum could certainly not have planned it, but God did. Following God doesn’t really make sense to others, but by sharing our testimonies we can share God’s perfect love and faith so they can be made known to others who doubt. Placing our lives into God’s hands will bring about perfect days.
Jesus’ prayer is a prayer of unity. Unity must be a sign of God’s love and the love we have for each other. Unity is difficult if we read John’s 2nd and 3rd letters, we see how the early church and unity had its difficulties. Just because we know, love and want our lives to full of Jesus, it doesn’t mean everyone else will be so open. Disunity is everywhere.
Jesus makes us understand if we are fighting amongst ourselves, it is hard to be a sign of the divine love God so freely lavishes on us. I ask myself a question, one you may like to ask yourself too, Who I am fighting with that is blocking God’s love being shared?
Jesus realises he is leaving an inheritance to these disciples and to all of us, the inheritance is a gift of unity grounded in love. The love Jesus shares with his Father. Jesus is praying we treasure this inheritance and not fight over it – treasure it and use it to be a sign of God’s love for the world.
How can I strive for unity in love in my family, in my community, in my world? In striving in that unity and love I can be a sign of God’s love to my family, my community, my world.
God is good and doesn’t make rubbish. We are known and loved for who we are, not what we’ve done or haven’t done. Everyone has a purpose in the Kingdom of God and with His love we must make this message known. The challenging part of this message for me is the fact God makes good – the stranger on the street who annoys me is good, my family member who I avoid to get in contact with is good , the person in my parish who ignores me is good , …….. how can I love them like God loves them? How can I come together with them in unity and love and build God’s Kingdom?
In times of disunity and with people who only want to disunite , how can I work with them to be a sign of God’s love? I certainly do not always live my life showing I know the answer to this, as I certainly struggle to love lots of people. I know the answer, you know the answer, the answer is simple - We must look to Jesus in every situation – what would Jesus do? He would pray to his Father that all will be one and he would love!
In the first reading Stephen looks up to heaven and sees Jesus. Jesus the One that makes unity happen. In our battles and frustrations, we too need to look to heaven and call upon our God and say yes to our life being used in all ways for His glory – this includes in union with others. The Holy Spirit binds Father and Son together, so we must live in unity. We must say yes to be refilled and renewed by the Holy Spirit, so we can say yes to a life sharing Jesus with every single person.
As we go through the week leading up to Pentecost, struggles, frustrations, disunity will still be in our way and set us back on our mission of building God’s Kingdom. Let’s ask for the grace of God to share the peace and love of God with others, so all will learn to live in it and grow it.
Come, Lord Jesus
-Jen ... See MoreSee Less