Easter 7, Year B

Title:Easter 7, Year B

 Easter 7, May 13, 2018 (full size gallery)


This Sunday was the last before Pentecost. We had 46 in the service attracting families as it was also Mother’s Day. The Longs were represented by several children. We also celebrated Michael’s 12th birthday.

The Prayers of the People had a mother’s day prayer”

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for mothers
“Today we thank God for the gift of mothers and mothering across the world. Isaiah wrote that God is a mother to us, comforting and carrying us in her arms. “As one whom a mother comforts, so I will comfort you,” says God. Gentle, patient God – thank you for your tender care. Isaiah also wrote that God will never forget us and that he knows each one of us just as a mother knows her own children. “Can a woman forget her baby at her breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you,” says God. Gentle, patient God – thank you for your tender care. David wrote that in God’s presence, he was quiet and at peace, trusting his God like a child safe in its mother’s arms. “I hold myself in quiet and silence, like a child in its mothers’ arms, “ said David. Gentle, patient God – thank you for your tender care. Jesus spoke of himself as a mother, longing to wrap his arms around us like a mother-hen gathering her chicks under her wings. “How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” Jesus said. Gentle, patient God – thank you for your tender care. Amen.”

We began the UTO spring ingathering which will be collected on June 3.

We are in the 11 days from Ascension to Pentecost. We reviewed the prayers this week in Thy Kingdom Come. It is still time to participate and signup here.

The image on the bulletin cover and the sermon page is "Mural of Life" done by artist Millard Sheets in 1964 for the the Notre Dame library.

"What they asked me to do was to suggest in a great processional the idea of a never-ending line of great scholars, thinkers, and teachers – saints that represented the best that man has recorded, and which are found represented in a library. The thought was that the various periods that are suggested in the theme have unfolded in the continuous process of one generation giving to the next. I put Christ at the top with the disciples to suggest that He is the great teacher – that is really the thematic idea." Christ is universal and so is the art with 6,000 pieces of Stone from all over the world.

The bulletin is here, the readings are here and the sermon is here.

The basis of the sermon were the gifts from Jesus as he rose on May 10 and is seated on the right of God. "We’ve got a week between now and next Sunday, the Day of Pentecost, when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. So this week, think on these gifts that Jesus has given to us for all time.

  • "Jesus has brought God near to us.
  • "Jesus have given us the eternal protection of God.
  • "Jesus has given us the gift of joy.
  • "And Jesus has made us holy by abiding in us, so that we have the freedom to love God and to love one another as God has loved us.

"For all these gifts that Jesus has given to us, we give our thanks and praise."

Today’s readings examine the role of an apostle of Jesus Christ. In Acts, the eleven remaining apostles welcome Matthias as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. The author of 1 John asserts that those who acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God will abide in God and God in them. In today’s gospel, Jesus prays for his followers’ sanctification in the truth of God’s word.

The Acts passage recounts the choosing of another apostle to replace Judas. The early Church sought confirmation in the Old Testament for what Christians experienced, hence the application of the generalized descriptions in Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 to the specific case of Judas.

The choosing of 12 disciples as a special group seems to have been a sign of the coming age and of the new Israel. They are a distinct group whose numbers need to be restored after Judas’s defection.

In today’s passage, the company of believers picks out two candidates who fulfill the criteria and then they cast lots—an Old Testament custom to allow the operation of God’s will (see Proverbs 16:33). Matthias will share in ministry as the servant of the community and in apostleship as the missionary envoy of Christ

The reading from the Epistle includes the end of the discussion on the witness to the Son of God, a statement of the point of the epistle and its purpose and the first part of an appendix. The testimony of God was manifested in two ways: first, through God’s saving action in Jesus; second, through the result of that action—eternal life for the believer.

Verse 12 encapsulates the call to decision, toward which the whole letter has been leading. Verse 13 summarizes the epistle in a way similar to John 20:31. The appendix speaks of prayer “according to his will” (v. 14) as John does of prayer “in his name” (John 14:13-14 and 16:23-24).

The Gospel is from Chapter 17 and is known as the “prayer of consecration” or “high priestly prayer” of Jesus. The setting is in Holy Week. The Upper room discourse was complete. Judas had made arrangements to betray Christ/ Jesus is on the way to Mt. Olivet. He would pray another prayer but in despair and anxiety. He would be betrayed by Judas. Finally he would be handed over to the Roman Authorities

He offers himself to the Father and speaks as high priest in offering intercession for others. Jesus’ ministry on earth is completed. He has revealed God to the disciples.

For John, this prayer is the expression of Jesus’ union and communion with the Father, spoken aloud before the disciples so that they may share that union. It is revelation as well as intercession.

Jesus prays for himself (17:1), for the disciples (17:9) and for future believers (17:20). He prays that the disciples may be kept safe from the world by the power of the name God has given him.

In John, the “world” (Greek, kosmos), means the universe under human direction, or more particularly human society. The world is not evil in itself. God wills to save it through Jesus.

Jesus sets the tone. He sees the world as the curious mix it is: brutal hate mingled with surprising tenderness; beauty juxtaposed with ugliness; depression rubbing elbows with unexpected joy. Jesus recognizes all these strange bedfellows and blesses them in one sentence that spans polarities. “I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

The disciples—and all Christians—are consecrated, set apart, as Jesus was by his incarnation. This is not merely for self-purification but for mission into the world.

The true Christian, then, can be found in the world’s most squalid places: its filthy slums, its battlefields, its bars, its unemployment offices, its prisons. Unlike the pseudo-Christianity that whistles in the dark because nothing bad can happen to one who believes, the genuine disciple knows that tragedies will occur. The innocent will suffer; the mother of six will be killed by the drunk driver; the promising young man will be shot by the thug.

But Jesus balances that inevitable sadness with the promise of his presence. He does not say that evil won’t happen or doesn’t exist. But he will support his followers even during the terrible tensions, and infuse them with joy despite the coldest betrayals.

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