Daily Reflection for Monday, May 16, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Monday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
Responsorial: Psalm 115:1-2,3-4,15-16
Gospel: John 14:21-26
Our reflection on Monday’s readings:
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.
“Why must you always answer a question with a question?” my husband likes to ask me. I’m trying to get clarification. What are you really asking me? Or do you really mean to tell me you don’t know the answer when I’ve told you a million times.
I find it hard to know why Jesus sometimes doesn’t seem capable of giving a straight answer. Judas (not the Iscariot, John is quick to add) asks Jesus why he will not reveal himself to the world but only to the apostles. And the answer given seems to have little to do with the question, at least at first glance. But scripture always invites us to go deeper.
Does Judas ask this question to get some affirmation of his status as a special friend of Jesus? Tell me how great we are, Lord! Or is the question sincere? If it is sincere, did Jesus really answer him even though it seems to me at first that he completely dodged the question. A few verses earlier Philip had asked him to show them the Father, and that would be enough for them to believe. You can almost hear Jesus heave a sigh as he reminds Philip again that if he has seen Jesus, he has seen the Father. In today’s verse, Jesus did NOT say he would not reveal himself to the world. He had just said that WHOEVER loved him, he and the Father would love and to them, they would reveal themselves. He was thinking globally about the future generations who would come to know him through the apostles and their successors. The apostles can’t see any farther than the room they are in. Jesus might have had to suppress another sigh. But he promises to send another Teacher and Guide. If they will pay more attention the Holy Spirit may help the lessons finally bear fruit.
Fast forward to the first reading and we see Paul and Barnabas on fire with the Holy Spirit working miracles. Paul and Barnabas have an opportunity to assume the glory of God when they heal the crippled man. This is a temptation we all face – to take credit for the working of Jesus through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. But Paul echoes the response of the psalm for the day, “Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.” Paul tells the Lycaonians that they had proof of the generous Father even before He chose to reveal Himself to the Gentiles. They had rain and abundant harvests, all the things needed to survive and thrive. They just had given credit to the wrong gods. Now they have the opportunity to encounter the one true God and his law of love that did not demand ritual sacrifice but rather obedience and relationship. And if they will listen, they will live in the in the love of the Father and Son, just as Jesus had said.
Lord, be patient with me when I am struggling to hear the lessons you are trying to teach me. Let me listen more than I speak when you are trying to answer my sincere questions.