Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

John 17:20-26

The Prayer of Jesus

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

….Jesus, true to His promise continues to pray for us and He prays that like Him and the Father, we all may be one. If unity is the objective of His prayer for us, then we have terribly failed Him with our division, with so many different Christian churches, sects and denominations.

We therefore humbly join Jesus in His unity prayer and continue with St. Paul the journey through the most trying with the goal of bringing the world, to the unity Jesus so desires: unity with the Father and unity with each other. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Baula, a very old man I encountered in one of my home visitations asked me with much concern: “Why is it that people say, ‘we believe in one and the same God’ but we have so many different Christian churches, sects and denominations and worse, each one tries to destroy and outwit one another?” This situation and many more, like broken homes, divided communities and warring nations show us a picture of disunity and division. They mirror the truth that indeed, in our earthly lives, we have not yet fully experienced the reality of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son.

Jesus prays that we may be one as He and Father are one. We are far from this dream but it is worth nothing that many individuals, groups and communities work to make the dream a reality. The challenge is great, for it means grappling with individualism, competition for profit, power, prestige and other worldly values which lure us from what is essential and lasting. But with Jesus who longs for our unity with Him and Father as well as our unity with one another, we humbly pray that we may enter more deeply into the love-relationship of God and move on to concretely live out this unity wherever we are, in our being and doing, always joyful of the glory we share with Jesus. (Sr. Patricia, SSpS Bibble Diary 2004)

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After a few days of listening and praying for the various petitions of the sisters during their daily Mass in one religious convent, i could no longer help but to remark to one sister: “Sister, it is so nice that you remember in your petitions the poor, the sick, the victims of fire, disasters and the various problems affecting our country. However, I have never heard you include the priest-celebrant in your daily petition.” What is my point of saying so.?

The point is we all want to be remembered and included in prayer at all times. A heart that is constantly remembered in prayer is not only a heart filled with joy and grace, but also a heart that is almost on the doorstep of heaven.

In today’s gospel, a n excerpt from the “Priestly Prayer” made at the Last Supper, Jesus remembered and prayed aloud for His disciples to His Father: “Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you….”

With so little time left, Jesus could have prayed more for Himself than for others. But then he was not the kind of person like many of us who usually think first of our personal interests and needs rather than others. Jesus prayed much not only for His disciples, but also for all believers that they learn to love each other, just as “He and His Father in heaven love each other.”

Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you? Do you appreciate the value of prayer for others? Who do we prioritize in our prayers? Let us not be selfish in our prayer. Jesus invites us to remember the concerns, anxieties, struggles, worries and even the conversion of others to be included in our prayers to God. Praying for others means that we are one in heart, one in our daily problems and one in our hopes for better life. Can you now say a silent prayer for someone who is badly in need at this moment? (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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In the gospel today, Jesus agonized and prayed before His arrest and death on the cross. His prayer gives us a glimpse of the heart of Jesus as He was leaving His disciples. This traumatic experience could be akin to a dying mother uttering her last words to her grieving children.

Bouts of loneliness, isolation and even meaninglessness, are inevitable but Jesus showed us the way. His prayer of unity reverberates throughout the universe and if allowed to sink into our inmost hearts produces hope, love, joy and the fulfilment of God’s plan. We are not alone. (Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Two years ago, we organized the Asian Feast in Berlin as part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Many guests, especially from Asia, attended this event dubbed as “Experience Asia.” Indeed, it was a meaningful cultural, spiritual and culinary journey through Asia’s colourful traditions in songs and dances. One of the highlights of this event was interreligious prayer. Religious leaders from Vietnam, Indonesia, Germany and the Philippines responded to our invitation. One imam, four priests and two bishops were present. Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Auxiliary Bishop Wolfgang Weider of the Archdiocese of Berlin prayed with us in different languages for unity, peace and understanding.

The international on that summer afternoon reminded me of Jesus in today’s gospel who also prayed for the same prayed for the same purpose: unity. The Priestly Prayer is one of the few prayers of Jesus recorded in Holy Scriptures. At the end of His ministry, Jesus summarized His task with a prayer of unity: “…that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” The union of Jesus with the Father is the ultimate bond of lasting unity and love.

Jesus addressed His Father in this prayer as if He was just talking to another person in front of Him. His prayer alone showed that in His oneness with the Father, He can open His heart and express His supplication with intensity and passion. The intensity of that interreligious prayer in Berlin made us feel that God in His many names was indeed present with us, praying for the unity of all peoples – regardless of color, religion, language or nationality. (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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In a summer camp in San Jose, Mindoro, when we were giving a seminar on a group of farmers, there was a man who was an Iglesia ni Cristo member and who wanted to debate with us. One of the facilitators told him that he could have the debate the whole night with us but he would never convince us to become members of Iglesia ni Cristo nor could we convince him to become a Catholic again. We suggested to him that we just put into reality what Jesus Christ commanded us to do, that we love one another – regardless of what we believe in or aspire to be.

In the gospel reading our Lord Jesus prayed fervently that all maybe one just as the Father and Jesus are one.

I am sure that Jesus was not praying for uniformity in administration, organization, liturgical rites and worship, or ecclesiastical unity but rather a unity of personal relationship in love.  It means a unity that would bind us in love for one another,, respect for each other’s beliefs and accepting people for what they are and not for what we want them to be.

What disunites us Christians is that we think we have the monopoly of truth. We criticize the form of worship other churches have, and we think we have the real relationship with God. Christian unity means going beyond all these differences and joining together in love. It is like the analogy. Of the existentialist philosopher Gabriel Marcel who said that Christian unity is like a symphony composed of different instruments but forming beautiful music.

As Divine Word missionaries we are trained to have a missionary attitude of prophetic dialogue with other religions, culture and the marginalized.

We believe that we do not have the monopoly of truth and that God is also present in other religions and different cultures and that everybody has a chance to be saved and be united with God (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2012)

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May 12, 2016 Thursday

“Please pray for me!” Very often we are requested by others to pray for them. As a priest, everyday I am asked by individuals to pray for their good health, fast recovery, success in exams or safe trip etc… Request for prayers is very common among us. Pope Francis also made this request when he was with the Yolanda survivors, “Please pray for me!” It is not only they who need his prayers and blessings but he also needs their prayers. Even St. Paul asks his ock to pray for him so that he may be safe and successful in his mission: “I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ… join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there” (Rom 15: 30-31).

We need to pray for one another. St. Paul gives us an example of praying for others: “I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy” (Phil 1:3).

Praying for others is one of the noble acts of a true Christian. Yes, all of us are in need of prayers and we also need to support, console and help one another through our prayers. Praying for others is also one way of showing our love, care and concern for their well being.

In the gospel today, Jesus prays for his disciples. He prays for their safety and successful mission after he would leave them and go back to his Father. He knows that they are weak, worried and frightened. He earnestly intercedes for them with his Father and commends them to his mercy and protection. Jesus continues to do the same for you and for me. He knows that we too are weak, worried and frightened due to various vicissitudes of life. He earnestly intercedes for us his flock. St. John says, “…but if anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf – Jesus Christ, the righteous one” (I John 1:1). (Fr. Deva Savariyappan, SVD DWCB, Bangued, Abra Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/645-may-12-2016-thursday

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May 24, 2012

St. Joanna
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
WHITE

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Ps 16
Jn 17:20-26

The Prayer of Jesus

[Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,] 20“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. 22And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. 24Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. 26I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Reflection:

That they may all be one. Jesus prays for unity among his followers. He desires communion of sharing and of being together. And he gives a lasting example in his union with the Father. Jesus acts in accordance with the Father’s will. He submits himself to the guidance and care of the Father. And this is what he wills his disciples to do.

We are to be in communion with God. Our life must be connected, attuned, and always related to the will of the Father.

And we are to be in communion with one another. We are a people called together by the Lord to be community and imbued with the spirit of oneness and sharing. We share in one another’s burdens, successes, defeats, and triumphs. “No man is an island,” we say, “no man stands alone.” We are one family under the fatherhood of God, and we have only one true home—heaven.

Let us not separate ourselves from others because we have different views and opinions or because we think we are superior or inferior to them. Let us not hide from others for fear of being used. We are one for God. We are one for all.

What can you do to heal the wounds of division?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1812-may-24-2012

 

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We reflect on the conclusion of Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” to the Father, which has been the focus of the Church Prayer for the past three days. On the first day, there was a special emphasis on glory, on the second day, truth; today we see the emphasis on unity. The unity Jesus prays for stands in contrast to the division that disrupts Paul’s trial in the first reading.

Jesus prays for his disciples and for all who will come to believe through their ministry – including all of us who ponder his words today. He prays for unity, a unity that will so perfectly reflect the unity he shares with the Father that when the world sees it they will be moved to faith. “I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

The disciples who heard this prayer at the Last Supper could not have understood what Jesus meant. They had a hard enough time getting along with each other, even while Jesus was with them. They squabbled over who was the greatest. Now that He is talking about going away, how could they expect to be one as he is one with the Father? Jesus prays “that they may be one, as we are one – I living in them, you living in me – that their unity may be complete.”

Their puzzlement over this prayer remained until the day of Pentecost, which we will celebrate in three days. On Pentecost, people from every nation were gathered in Jerusalem, speaking a wide variety of languages. What could possibly unite this fragmented “Babel” of a city? They could not even speak to each other. The answer came in the rushing wind of the Spirit, who truly made it possible for them to be one in the Lord, speaking the one language of the gospel, which is love in truth. If Jesus had not prayed for unity, and if we did not know the power of the Spirit, we would be tempted to think it could never happen. The world is so hopelessly divided. But on Pentecost, the Church learned that the unity Jesus prayed for – a unity which was clearly a human impossibility – is given to us freely in the Holy Spirit.

Unity is the very reason why Jesus came. His mission is to reconcile us with the Father and with one another (cf. Eph 2:13-18). He himself is love in truth. Anyone who opens his heart to love or to truth encounters God in this way. The opposite is also true: anyone who opposes love or truth, even if he does in the name of God, cuts himself off from God. This is sin, the source of the innumerable divisions in our lives, and in the world. Sin divides us from the Father and from one another.

When Paul is put on trial before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, he finds himself in the middle of a sharply divided assembly. He did not divide them. The Pharisees and Sadducees were already divided over issues of truth; namely, belief in resurrection from the dead and in angels. Paul starts his defense by prudently identifying at least one point on which he is united with the Pharisees, his “hope in the resurrection of the dead.” The resulting uproar prevents the trial from progressing any further. On this occasion, Paul does not get any further opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus or the full truth of the gospel. In the evening, perhaps he was questioning whether he took the right approach; maybe he even felt that he had failed the Lord. In answer to his questions, Jesus himself appears to him that night and affirms that Paul has given testimony to him. By proclaiming the truth, Paul has proclaimed the gospel, as he must continue to do in Rome.

Unity is built on truth; when people resist the truth, there is division. When we choose to be united with God and to do His will, we can expect to face some division. Someone is going to oppose us – someone in the family, in the neighbourhood, or in our circle of friends. It is not right for us to provoke opposition unnecessarily, or to cause more division by our own sins of stubbornness and pride, but uniting ourselves with the Lord in truth and love is always right. It is essential. Like Paul, we cannot always share the gospel the way we would like to. Sometimes there is no opportunity; sometimes we are facing too much hostility or division. But we can always choose the way of unity in truth and love, in the power of the Spirit. This is already a proclamation of the gospel, and in time will bear abundant fruit.

Do I pray and work for unity? Do I know the difference between the division caused by standing up for truth in love and the division caused by my own sin? How am I divided in my own heart? How does the Spirit work in my life? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way, April 5, 2012 to May 26, 2012 Cycle B Year 2, May 24, 2012 pp. 264-266)

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Jesus continues to pray: “May I live in them as you live in me.” Christians are four things:

First, they’re a body in which Christ lives. Paul writes, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me,” (Gal 2:20).

Second, they’re a mind through which Christ thinks. Paul writes, “”Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 2:5)

Third, they’re a voice through which Christ speaks. Jesus said, “Whoever listens to you listens to me,” (Luke 10:16)

Fourth, they’re a heart through which Christ loves. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” (Mt 25:40)

To what extent are we the body, mind, voice, and heart of Jesus? Christ has no hands but ours, no feet but ours, no voice but ours, no heart but ours, (Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Seasons and Feasts, 1987 pp. 224-225)

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Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter (Year C): Juan 17:20-26. Sa unsa mang paagiha kita magkahiusa? Adunay mga tawo nga magkahiusa diha sa bisyo, sama sa pag-inum, pagpanugal, ug pangbabae. Ang uban magkahiusa sa pagpanglibak, pagpanikas, pagpangawat, ug pagpamaligya og druga. Dili kini maayo. Diha sa ebanghelyo si Jesus nag-ampo nga kita nga iyang mga sumusunod magkahiusa sama nga siya ug ang iyang Amahan nahiusa sa gugma. Ang gugma maoy maghimo sa pagkahiusa nga positibong hiyas. Nindot kaayo kon kita magkahiusa sa atong pagtoo sa Dios, sa pagbantay sa kalinaw, sa pagsulbad sa kapobrehon, sa pagpalig-on sa pamilya, sa pag-amping sa kinaiyahan, ug uban pa. Kini nga panaghiusa maoy atong himoon tungod kay pinaagi niini ang katilingban sa Dios malig-on.(fr. Abet Uy –

abetuy.blogspot.com/2013/05/thursday-of-7th-week-of-easter-year-c.html)

John 17: 20-26. How does the way we work together? There are people together in habits, such as drinking, gambling, and pumps. Some together backbiting, cheating, stealing, and selling drugs. It is not good. In the gospel, Jesus prayed that his followers be one as He and the Father are united in love. It is love that makes the union a positive quality. Beautiful when we are united in our faith in God, to keep the peace, to address poverty, strengthening the family, protecting the environment, and others. This unity is what we do because it enables the assembly of God is strengthened. (Fr. Abet Uy

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

THURSDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR C) – JUAN 17:20-26. SA UNSA MANG PAAGIHA KITA MAGKAHIUSA? Adunay mga tawo nga magkahiusa diha sa bisyo, sama sa pag-inum, pagpanugal, ug pangbabae. Ang uban magkahiusa sa pagpanglibak, pagpanikas, ug pagpamaligya og druga. Dili kini maayo. Diha sa ebanghelyo si Hesus nag-ampo nga kita magkahiusa sama nga siya ug ang iyang Amahan nahiusa sa gugma. Ang gugma maoy maghimo sa pagkahiusa nga positibong hiyas. Nindot kaayo kon kita magkahiusa sa pagbantay sa kalinaw, sa pagsulbad sa kapobrehon, sa pagpalig-on sa pamilya, sa pag-amping sa kinaiyahan, ug uban pa. Kini nga panaghiusa maoy atong himoon tungod kay pinaagi niini ang katilingban sa Dios malig-on. Hinumduman nato ang giingon ni Hans Urs Von Balthasar: “Even if a unity of faith is not possible, a unity of love is.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/05/thursday-of-7th-week-of-easter-year-c.html

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God’s Eternal Love

May 21, 2015 (readings)

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Father Paul Campbell, LC

John 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith in your love.

  1. Who is God?In his first epistle, John tells us that God is love. Before the foundation of the world, the Father loved the Son. Within the Trinity there is a perfect sharing of life and love. Even after the Incarnation, Jesus remained in his Father’s love. At Christ’s baptism, the Father spoke of his love for his Son. “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). At the Transfiguration he repeated this sign of love: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). These moments manifest God’s inner life.
  2. A Share in His Life:God created us to share in the loving relationship of the Trinity. The Father’s plan is to love us, to bring us into Trinitarian love. He wants to love us in his Son with a Father’s eternal love. If we could catch a mere glimpse of the reality of this love, it would transform our lives. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son into the world (see John 3:16). Love is at the heart of the universe.
  3. Sharing in God’s Love:God is love, and if he is in us, it is as love. God pours his love, himself, into our hearts. As he shares his life, he shares his love. This is the love that he wants us to give to others. Jesus gave his disciples the love he had received from his Father, and sent them forth to continue his work of sharing that love with all of humanity. Think of the people today who are lonely and lost, starving for love and attention. They have no clue that God loves them with an eternal love or that he has loved them intimately, deeply and perfectly from all eternity. They do not know that this love has given them life and maintains them in existence. People need to hear the good news of God’s love. This is our mission.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to share your love with those around me. Don’t allow me to remain focused just on myself and the circumstances in my life. I need you. I need your love, as do so many others. I need to love in order to give myself to your work, but I also need your constant help and support.

Resolution: I will let someone know that God loves them.

epriest.com/reflections/view/395?utm_source=bulletin_736&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bulletin

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One Bread, One Body – Reflection for May 21, 2015

GUIDANCE COUNSELOR

“I bless the Lord Who counsels me.” –Psalm 16:7

God the Father is “great in counsel” (Jer 32:19), always guiding us in every situation. He counsels us by day and by night (Ps 16:7). “He has counsel in store for the upright” (Prv 2:7).

God the Father has sent us Jesus, the “Wonder-Counselor” (Is 9:5). Jesus counsels us through His Word (see Ps 119:24), through direct personal guidance (see Is 30:21), and through the teaching ministry of His Church (see Lk 10:16).

Jesus and the Father have sent us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit counsels us in practical ways. For example, the Spirit clearly instructed Philip step-by-step in his evangelization of the Ethopian official (Acts 8:29ff). The Holy Spirit instructs and counsels us in everything (Jn 14:26). He guides us to all truth (Jn 16:13).

Certainly the Lord intends to guide us in our personal lives. However, He expects us to take the gift He gives us and use it to bear fruit (Mt 10:8). He counsels us so that we can give counsel to others. When we received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation, we received “a spirit of counsel” (see Is 11:2).

So many people have been led astray by ungodly counsel. You may be the only godly counselor some people will ever meet. Therefore, ask the Holy Spirit to increase your spiritual gift of counsel and lead you into contact with those who need it. May your words of counsel have a great, lasting effect (see 1 Sm 3:19).

PRAYER: Triune God, I will stop listening to the world’s “experts” and devote myself to following Your advice (Prv 3:1-6).

PROMISE: “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in Your presence, the delights at Your right hand forever.” –Ps 16:11

PRAISE: St. Christopher gave his executioners absolution before he and Agustin Caloca were martyred.

mycatholic.com/reflections/2015-141.html

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Reflection for May 21, Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter; John 17:20-26 Reflection: A woman engaged herself to caring for the poor of her community. She did this out of her concern for them, funds were hard to come by at times. Yet she was able to feed and nourish them because she believed that Jesus would always be there for them.

We can always lean on Jesus no matter who we are. He is always there to help us and He will always be there to bring our prayers to God. Jesus loves us so much that He gave His very life for us on the cross. By doing so Jesus completed the mission that was given to Him by God. For our sake God gave the life of His only begotten son.

God is never absent in our lives no matter who we are and no matter what we have done. He is always there ever ready to listen to us. God manifested Himself to us through Jesus so that we could reach out to Him. This is the reason why we should not think twice calling for His help anytime.

Yet there is also a responsibility that rest on our shoulders. And this responsibility is to pay forward this infinite love of God. Our faith in God is never complete and it will never grow and mature unless we learn to share it. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/05/reflection-for-may-21-thursday-of.html

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Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Jn 17:20-26

They May be One

The famous psychologist Victor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” narrates his experience in the concentration camp. He was intrigued by the apparent randomness of inmate survival.  He started to ask why some prisoners just seemed to shrivel up and die, while others, under the same cruel and inhuman conditions, somehow seemed to survive.  Naturally, at first he thought it had to do with the prisoner’s physical fitness and health, but he soon noticed that often the most physically fit prisoners would die quickly under the horrible conditions of the camp, while those who seem weak, elderly, and/or unaccustomed to hard labour would survive the longest.  Frankl decided to occupy his mind with a psychological analysis of life in the concentration camp in order to try to unravel this mystery.  Based on his observations and professional reflections Frankl became convinced that the key to survival was meaning.  In other words, those prisoners who found a reason to survive survived, and those who did not find a reason to survive, did not survive.  He writes about an older man who had been a watchmaker, and how he designed in his head, and on any scraps of paper he could find, a most beautiful clock that he wanted to make to replace the one in his home village’s clock tower which was destroyed in the war.  For Frankl himself, his reason to survive was to rewrite the book, based on years of psychological research that he had written and the Nazis had destroyed before his eyes.  All of us, deep down, strive to find meaning in our lives, and that meaning, that reason to survive, is what keeps us going.

Jesus gives us a meaning in life when He prays, “That they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.”  By reducing this text only to “ecumenism” we may not find its true meaning. It will be like escaping from our real mission. Jesus prayed, “That they may be one as I am one with you, Father, who sent me: one in the intention to redeem, to save, to liberate, to serve, to make grow. Father let them be one in that redemptive purpose ours.”

It is at that practical level that Jesus prays we should be one. It is our mission and it gives meaning to our existence. Fr. Nithin Francis CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-05-12

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May 12, 2016

REFLECTION:

The background of today’s first reading is this. For many long centuries in Israel there was no belief in a real and positive afterlife, in a Heaven of bliss in God’s company. The Jews were convinced that after death everybody went down to the Sheol, a dark and gloomy place situated in the middle of the earth. This belief is all the more surprising that, living more than 400 years in Egypt, they were exposed to the Egyptians’ belief in an afterlife lived with the gods and which was a pleasant continuation of the present life. Perhaps the Jews resisted these beliefs precisely because they were pagan beliefs…

At any rate this rejection of a happy afterlife continued until the 2nd century B.C., when the death of many martyrs convinced Daniel (12:1-3) and others (2 Mac 12:38-46) that these martyrs deserved to live with God forever. But at the time of Jesus the more conservative Jews (the Sadducees) who accepted only the Pentateuch as Scripture, still rejected the idea of a blissful afterlife. And Paul, as we see in today’s first reading, astutely uses this doctrinal rift between Pharisees and Sadducees to save himself from prison.

To know that a happy afterlife awaits us is one of our greatest blessings indeed.

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3531-may-12-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

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