Paul baptizes believers in the Reading for Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter. “And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them” (Acts 19:6). The Church continues to baptize in water and the Holy Spirit. For some Christians, Confirmation strengthens the life of the Holy Spirit already dwelling within. How do Christians know the Holy Spirit is upon them? Paul identifies the presence of the Spirit by its fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self control. Which fruits do you possess?
Jesus comforts his disciples in the Gospel for Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter. Preparing them for his return to the Father, he reassures them. “You will grieve, but your grief will become joy” (John 16: 20). Loss is part of life. We lose games, keys, health, jobs, loved ones and more. Christ reassures us of God’s providential care through loss whether inconvenient or painful. Though we suffer now, God’s love will see us through. God promises us a life where there are no more tears and weeping. How does God turn your grief into joy?
In the Reading for Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter, God frees Paul and Silas from prison. Bewildered, the jailor asks them how to be saved. “And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved” (Acts 16: 30-31). Like the jailor, I struggle with what I must do to be saved. I worry about being perfect. Paul and Silas remind me that salvation depends on Jesus, not me. It’s more about self-surrender than self-doing. Believing in Jesus means relying on God, not myself. In surrendering to love of God in Jesus, God helps me do the right thing. What difference does your faith in Jesus make?
In the Gospel for Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter, Jesus commissions the apostles to testify to God’s love in his name. “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify … ” (John 15: 26). By the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles are witnesses to the Good News. Jesus warns them they are risking their lives to testify. In baptism, Jesus commissions us to witness to God’s love in word and deed. We testify to Jesus by loving God and others even when it is difficult. We “risk our lives” in selfless love especially of those in need. How to do you testify to Christ’s love?
Jesus explains the way to God in the Gospel for the Feast of Saints Philip and James. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father” (John 14:6-7). We yearn for meaning in their lives. We search for something of lasting value. We look for God. We pursue possessions, careers, fame, and more. Jesus is the way to God. We find God by following Jesus’ example. In loving Jesus, we love God and one another. I accomplish great good by the possessions I share, the lay ecclesial ministry I do, and the reputation I have. I truly find God in the love of Christ I share with my family, friends, and those in need. How do you follow the way of Jesus?
In the Gospel for the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Jesus admonishes his disciples to love others as God loves them. “Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love” (John 15:9b-10). My experiences of love are like this. My parents shared their life and love with me. They expected me to share it with others. I share my life and love with my spouse. We expect mutual loving support. We share our life and love with our children. We expect they share these gifts. In Jesus, God shares life and love with us. Jesus expects us to love God and one another selflessly… with all we have to give. How do you remain in Christ’s love?
In the Gospel for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter, Jesus describes his relationship with his disciples as a vine to branches. “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In spring trees are abloom with flowers and buds. Branches blush with green and other beautiful hues. Separated from the tree, the branch withers and dies. Our relationship with Christ is the same. Rooted in the love of Christ, our love flourishes in new life for ourselves and others. Loved by Christ, we reach out in love to others. My love for my wife bears fruit in my love for my children. My love for my children bears fruit in their love for others. How does your life in Christ bear fruit?