by Fr W. Nkomo
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First Reading Acts 1:12-14
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 27:1.4.7-8.
Second Reading 1 Peter 4:13-16
Gospel John 17:1-11
PRAYER Is the Ability To; See Your Struggles In The Light Of God’s Great Plan and Take Your Sufferings as an Opportunity to Identify with Jesus.
Today is the last Sunday of Easter, the special Sunday that falls between the Ascension and the Pentecost. On this Sunday we commemorate an important waiting: After the ascension the disciples waiting for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit. As we wait we are given the example of Jesus’ prayer; a prayer that he prayed to be heard by his Father and overhead by his apostles. Remember that this is a prayer that Jesus offers to God on the night before He died. Aware of his fate he prayed and in his prayer we realise that he sees his mission in the light of God’s great plan which is to save us. In his prayer he asks his Father to bestow eternal life on all who accept him. It is in the very same prayer that Jesus teaches us what eternal life is; to know God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. Three things are vitally important in the life of every Christian; knowing God and Jesus, prayerfully waiting for the fulfilment of his word and uniting ourselves with Christ at all times.
The reading from the book of Act of the Apostles tells us that the first Christian community had learned Jesus’ lesson and was at prayer awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Listen to what is said; “all with one accord devoted themselves to prayer.” This is what prayer should do open the believer to God and his plans. Though Jesus is the ultimate model for imitation, the heroism of the disciples, named and unnamed is an inspiration and example for every Christian. Each one of us is called to remember to return to God with all our struggles so that he may show us what His plans are for us. Like Jesus who prayed and his disciples who united in prayer we too are called to open our lives in prayer especially during this time of suffering and confusion. We must prayerfully wait for that day when we shall be able to unite in our upper rooms, the churches in one accord at mass.
St Peter in the second reading offers us a Christian way to handle suffering. He says a Christian should have the ability to take his/her sufferings as an opportunity to identify with Jesus. What does this mean for us as Christians? This is a call to each one of us to allow the Christ who is in us to identify himself with the sufferings of others. This means that no one should hurt alone, feel irritable alone because of what they go through, that is, those who suffer should hear Jesus through us who believe whispering into their ears “can I hurt with you for a while.” We all need to know that someone has our backs and Jesus, if we approach him in prayer is always there for us.
Jesus offers us a model prayer, one that takes those we love with us, that allows us to enter into the depths of their sorrows and suffer with them knowing that it is all in God’s great plan. May we be able to offer ourselves as instruments in God’s hand to assist others carry the burden of life. May the coming of the Holy Spirit find us waiting in Prayer. Amen