By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 1:12‑14 FIRST READING
(“Together they devoted themselves to constant prayer.”)
- Where is the mount called Olivet and what had previously occurred there? Acts 1:1‑2, 12
- Entering the city, who went to the upstairs room where they were staying? Acts 1:13
- To what did they devote themselves? Acts 1:14
- What do the following scriptures say about prayer?
1 Timothy 2:8
1 Timothy 4:4‑5
Personal ‑ In what ways do you come together to pray with others, how do you pray, and for what do you pray?
- Who were in the company of the disciples? Acts 1:14
- When was there another occasion that women were present? Luke 8:1‑3
- What did Jesus say about his mother and brothers in Luke 8:19‑21?
- What does not exist among us and for what reason? Galatians 3:24‑28
Personal ‑ In what ways have you prayed with Mary, the mother of God, this week? How often do you pray with the men, women and children who are closest to you?
THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 4:13‑16 SECOND READING
(“When his glory is revealed, you will rejoice exultantly.”)
- In what are you to rejoice? 1 Peter 4:13
- How can you share in Christ’s sufferings? 2 Timothy 2:11
- To what do our sufferings or afflictions lead? Romans 5:3‑5
- How do we become glorified with Jesus? Romans 8:17, John 12:23‑24
- What will you do when his glory is revealed? 1 Peter 4:13
- What are we when we are insulted for Christ’s sake and who in his glory has come to rest on us? 1 Peter 4:14
- What will be present in us when the Spirit rests on us? Isaiah 11:2
- What reasons must we see to that none of us suffer? 1 Peter 4:15
- If anyone suffers for being a Christian, what must he not be, rather, what should he do? 1 Peter 4:16
Personal ‑ In what way have you died to your way of doing things in order to bear the name Christian? What does that name mean to you? How have you suffered because of the name, and what has been your attitude?
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 17:1‑11 GOSPEL
(“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.”)
- What reassuring words had Jesus spoken? John 16:33
- Where did Jesus look and what did he say? John 17:1
- What has been given Jesus over all mankind, and what may he do? John 17:2
- What is eternal life? John 17:3, 1 John 5:20
- What did Jesus do on earth and how did he do it? John 17:4
- Where does the Father give Jesus glory and when did he have this glory? John 17:5
- What did he make known and what did those given him keep? John 17:6
- What do they realize, what was entrusted to them, and what did they have to do? John 17:7-8
- How is it known to them that Jesus came from the Father and what did they have to do? John 17:8
- For whom does he pray? John 17:9
- How has he been glorified? John 17:10
- Where does he say he will no longer be, what does he ask the Father to do, and how is he to do it so that they may be one even as the Father and Son are one? John 17:11
Personal ‑ In what way have you made Jesus’ name known to those he has given to you? List the ways you have come to know Jesus. How has he revealed the way, the truth and the life to you? Meditate on this and share with someone.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 27:1, 4, 7‑8
(“…your presence, O Lord, I seek.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 27:1, 4, 7‑8.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The central theme from today’s passage is the absolute need for prayer. In today’s world, the strongest area in our lives must be our prayer time with Jesus Christ. We have seen all through the New Testament that Jesus went off and prayed alone to his Father before he did anything. We are called to do no less than he. Jesus told them not to leave the upper room until his Spirit returned to them. They prepared for the coming event that would change the face of the entire known world in about 25 years by spending the next ten days in solemn prayer.
This time of preparation which we would call a retreat is a time of waiting, praying, and expecting the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance. A difficult decision, or a very hard task should never be attempted without praying first to the Holy Spirit. We need to take the apostles’ example and not rush in and hope everything turns out all right. We need to ask ourselves, how often do we stop and pray before we do anything or even say anything.
These apostles had been with Jesus for three years and had seen many miracles, and yet, they knew that they lacked something. Jesus did not want them to go into the world unprepared. He does not want us to go unprepared either. He has given us his Holy Spirit who will never leave us. His power will be what we will use to resist Satan and make Satan flee (James 4:7).
1 PETER 4:13‑16
There is much talk in the Christian world today that if you follow Christ, you will be happy and live a prosperous life. Some people are drawn to the Christian faith thinking it is like an insurance policy. Many people think if they attend services every week, receive all the sacraments and are obedient to the church, they will make it to heaven without too much pain.
Jesus tells us that he does not have a place to lay his head, never mind being successful in the world. In today’s message, Peter is telling the new converts that we will be with Christ in heaven, if we carry the crosses he sends us. This is not a theology of works, this is a covenant of love. Our love for him will be what holds us up when we are persecuted for being a Christian.
Living the Christian life is not the product of mere men, it is the product of human nature raised to a higher plane by Divine Grace. The channels by which we receive his Divine Grace are sacraments, prayer and sacred scripture. We really can not say that being a Christian is too severe, because when we see how our baptism has made us brothers and sisters of Christ and has prepared us for the other sacraments, then we know that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No persecution, no trial and conviction, not even death itself will separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31‑39).
To experience suffering because we are Christian is a cause for tremendous joy. It means that we belong to Christ, not the world. I must say that we have to pray and discern that the suffering that we are going through is because we are doing God’s will and not our will. We must all remember our time here on earth is but a moment in eternity, but the time that we will spend with Christ in heaven will be eternal, and that is “Good News.”
This passage from the Gospel of John is a prayer of Jesus. We can see that the world is a battle ground and the forces under Satan’s power are driven by bitterness and hatred for Jesus and all of his followers. We must never forget that we are locked in spiritual warfare and that we, by ourselves, are no match for Satan. We are called to put on our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10‑18) and be ready.
Again we see Jesus going to his Father in prayer. He prayed to the Father to protect his followers and that protection extends today to you and me. We respond to that protection through our prayer life, our scripture study, and our receiving of the sacraments. He will make us holy and unite us in his truth if we abide in him and keep his commandments (John 15:7).
Jesus is telling us that eternal life is entering into a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. We see Jesus asking the Father to restore him to his original place now that his time on earth is coming very quickly to an end. We need to realize that Jesus’ resurrection and ascension were proof that this prayer was indeed answered in full. Jesus said that his disciples are his glory and that, of course, means us who have decided to follow Jesus.
What a tremendous blessing that Jesus can find glory in our lives. It is a tremendous sign of encouragement to all of us. If you have slipped or even walked away from Christ, now is the time to come back to him. His prayer to the Father was for all of his brothers and sisters. He wants all of us to have eternal life. His real and full glory is sharing with all of us who believe in him, the reality of seeing and giving praise and glory to his heavenly Father. We must remember, Jesus said, “I have not lost any whom you have given me.” So come on back; “Abba” is waiting.
The first reading tells us the first Christian community devoted themselves to prayer. The second reading tells us that those who suffer because of righteousness are very much blessed.
The Gospel reveals that everything that was of the Father was also of Jesus at his hour of glory.
This week, let the presence of God fill you in your home, work, and school area. Let the power of prayer transform your attitude and your conduct this week. Make a commitment to yourself to begin each morning in a quiet time alone with the Lord. In the middle of your day take a few minutes again to spend a quiet time with the Lord in prayer. Before you go to sleep review your day with the Lord, and go to sleep with him on your mind.