Sunday, May 01, 2016
Monday, 6th Week of Easter
02 May 2016
Monday, 6th Week of Easter
St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Acts 16:11–15 / Jn 15: 26 -16:4a
St. Athanasius (297 – 373), Bishop of Alexandria for 45 years, was a great champion against the Arian heresy at the First General Council at Nicaea (325).
Gospel Reading: Jn 15:26 - 16:4a
Jesus said to his disciples, "From the Father, I will send you the Spirit of truth. When this Helper has come from the Father, he will be my witness, and you, too, will be my witnesses, for you have been with me from the beginning.
"I tell you all this to keep you from stumbling and falling away. They will put you out of the synagogue. Still more, the hour is coming, when anyone who kills you will claim to be serving God; they will do this, because they have not known the Father or me. I tell you all these things now so that, when the time comes, you may remember that I told you."
Part of the Last Supper discourse of our Lord, the core of our gospel today, contains two very important elements. The first is his promise to his disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit to be their guide, strength and consolation in their mission. The second is a grim but very real warning of their coming persecution by some misguided people who may truly think that they are doing God's will in persecuting them.
How do these apply to us living in a different time and place? The history of mankind is also a record of wars and violence throughout the ages. After two millennia of Christianity, Europe still suffered two devastating world wars and more recently, the Balkan civil wars. These were marred by genocide and various atrocities.
Nearer home, we can still recall the cruel behavior of the Japanese Imperial armies on the people of China and Southeast Asia. Closer to our times, the racial riots in Malaysia and Indonesia continue to haunt us, as well as the recent emergence of radical extremists from different faith traditions all over the world. In our grief over the injustice and senseless violence, our hearts cry out for justice and vengeance upon the perpetrators. However we are all victims of our sinful nature and we share common brokenness.
Would we allow the healing love of the Holy Spirit to soften our hardening hearts and mend our broken hearts in our grief and anger over the senseless violence and great injustice we see and experience around us? Why then did the almighty God choose to be vulnerable and suffer the greatest injustice and violence of the cross?
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