By Fr. Rocco Marra, IMC
We are in the Novena of the Holy Spirit: On these days, it is the appropriate time to read the chapter 1 of The Acts of the Apostles, in order to enjoy the spirit of communion in preparation of Pentecost.
From verse 12 to verse 14 we read that the Apostles, with other disciples, some women and Mary, the mother of Jesus were united in prayer. This group formed the community of the first church in embryo.
This month of May, we remember Mary: she collaborated with God for the incarnation of his Son, also she received the mandate to be the mother of the new born Church, under the Cross (Jn. 19:25-27)
The first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 20-26
As on the foundation of “Israel” there were the 12 tribes, also for the “new Israel”, the Church, God through Jesus, wanted 12 Apostles. The problem aroused because of Judas Iscariot, the traitor, they remained in 11 members. Peter leading the group gave the interpretation of the Scriptures about it and the criterion to choose one man to be numbered with the eleven apostles: <one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us, one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection>. It was no Peter who chose Matthias “the replacement’s apostle”, but Peter helped the others to find the will of God. In prayer they asked: <You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place>.
The second reading is from the first letter of John 4:11-16
John experienced the Love of God and he is an authority for us of that Love. The experience of the Apostles is the one of the Church as well. Jesus is the Love of God in our lives; we are the Church because of this Love. We celebrate it in the Eucharist, we express it in our actions too. Sometimes we are appreciated for many good things done well and with responsibility in the society, but our mission is more than that, it is to make God known through these actions. For this we need to qualify our prayer; that is the communication of love with God.
The Gospel is from St. John 17:11-19.
The prayer of Jesus to the Father for his disciples:
- May they be strong in faith and don’t leave the new life.
- May they find power and protection in the name of Jesus.
- May they be one in the Love of God, manifested by Jesus’ relation with the Father.
- May they preach , as Jesus did, the Good News of God.
- May they be witnesses of the Love of God and bear fruits, in the world.
- May they be consecrated in the truth, as Jesus on the Cross.
The prayer of Jesus is the prayer of the Church, his body on earth.
The prayer of Jesus is done, day by day, as act of Love:
Let us learn to be one in the Lord with the help of his own prayer.
“…some moments spent alone with God are also necessary. For Saint Teresa of Avila, prayer “is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us”. I would insist that this is true not only for a privileged few, but for all of us, for “we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored”. Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence”. (Pope Francis “Gaudete et exsultate”, 149)