By Fr. Rocco Marra, IMC
Acts 9: 26-31
Reading the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we notice the action of the Holy Spirit, the consoler. The Joy of the Gospel, the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and Jesus, the Lord of Peace, reached several regions (Acts 9:31).
Considering this fact, we understand the previous verses about St. Paul’s visit to Jerusalem after his conversion. It is Important to note that he did not go to Jerusalem immediately after he escaped from Damascus. He first went into Arabia, where he spent three years (see Galatians 1:17-18).The disciples of Jerusalem remembered his former violence against Christians. They had an instinctive shrinking from him, and suspicion of the man that had been so violent, a persecutor.
So Barnabas the apostle, a name that means “son of encouragement,” (Acts4:36) took Saul under his wings and convinced the early Church to accept him. Sure this Word encourages our catechists and the faithful to pray, to study the Bible and to teach, by example of life and by instructing the children, the youth and the catechumens.
1 John 3: 18-24
As Christians, we find our identity through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus did the will of the Father and manifested the truth of God by the action of the Holy Spirit. Our prayer may be the same prayer of Jesus, so our work of Mercy. This is the way to allow the Holy Spirit to be fruitful in us, so we witness the Holy Trinity through our relations.
The Gospel is from St. John 15:1-8. The words of consolation and encouragement were intended to console and encourage all his followers for all time. They encourage and console us today, as well. Our Lord has warned us today, as he warned his first followers, to abide in him, to remain closely united with him, as is the branch to the vine, if we hope to bear fruit. As people of the world, we are in relation; that is one another. We experiment the sin of the world considering our failures to grow in maturity, our dissatisfactions to reach happiness, our inability to consolidate relationship that could last. Because of sin, we don’t manage to relate well with ourselves, with God, with others, with the nature etc. Easter is the celebration of the heart of our life and faith: Christ is the center, allow him to enter in the deepest of ourselves to touch our wounds, our failures. We are one in the Lord, let us ask him in prayer to celebrate the mystery of his death and resurrection in our lives, in our families and communities.
“Our world is being torn apart by wars and violence, and wounded by a widespread individualism which divides human beings, setting them against one another as they pursue their own well-being. In various countries, conflicts and old divisions from the past are re-emerging. I especially ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. Let everyone admire how you care for one another, and how you encourage and accompany one another: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This was Jesus’ heartfelt prayer to the Father: “That they may all be one… in us… so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). Beware of the temptation of jealousy! We are all in the same boat and headed to the same port! Let us ask for the grace to rejoice in the gifts of each, which belong to all”. (Evangelii Gaudium 99)