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 8:5‑8, 14‑17 FIRST READING
(“Samaria had accepted the Word of God.”)
- Where did Philip go, and what did he proclaim? Acts 8:5
- Who was Philip? Acts 6:5, Acts 21:8
- What did the crowds do who heard Philip, and what did they see? Acts 8:6
- What happened to the unclean spirits, and what happened to the paralytic or cripples? Acts 8:7
- What rose to fever pitch in that town? Acts 8:8
Personal ‑ In what way do you see family or friends being healed by your words or touch?
- What had Samaria accepted, and what two men did the apostles send to them? Acts 8:14
- What does the Word of God judge? Hebrews 4:12
- What did Peter and John do, and what did they pray that they might receive? Acts 8:15
- Why had the Holy Spirit not yet come down on them? Acts 8:16
- What happened when the pair laid hands on them? Acts 8:17
- How did the apostles receive the Holy Spirit? John 20:22
Personal ‑ What signs do your family, friends and work acquaintances see performed by you through the power of the Holy Spirit that you have received by way of your baptism and confirmation and belief through the Word of God?
THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 3:15‑18 SECOND READING
(“The reason why Christ died for sins,… was that he might lead you to God.”)
- Where are we to venerate the Lord? 1 Peter 3:15
- Upon what does God look, and of what is he the tester? Luke 16:15, 1 Thess. 2:4
- If anyone asks us the reason for this hope, what should we be ready to do, and how are we to do it? 1 Peter 3:15‑16
- Whenever we are defamed by those who libel our way of life in Christ, what are we to do, and what will happen to them? l Peter 3:16
- If it is God’s will that we suffer, for what is it better to suffer? 1 Peter 3:17
- Whose footsteps do we follow in suffering? 1 Peter 2:21
- How many times did Christ die for sins and for whom, also the just man? 1 Peter 3:18
- For what reason did Christ die? 1 Peter 3:18
- In what existence was Christ put to death, and in what realm was he given life? 1 Peter 3:18
- What came before life in the Spirit? 1 Peter 3:18
- How did God prove his love for us? Romans 5:8
Personal ‑ In what way have you responded to others when they ask you why you are so hopeful? Do others see you as a hope‑filled person? Ask those closest to you if they see this hope in you and, if not, reread and pray over 1 Peter 3:18 and Romans 5:8‑9.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 14:15‑21 GOSPEL
(“He who loves me will be loved by my Father.”)
- Who is speaking in John 14:15‑21? John 14:9
- What two things must we do in order to receive the Paraclete (the Holy Spirit)? John 14:14-16
- For whom will Jesus ask the Father, will he always be with us, what is another name for the Paraclete, and how does the world see him? John 14:15-17
- How do we recognize him, and to what will he guide? John 14:17, John 16:13
- What does the truth do to us? John 8:31‑32
- What does Jesus tell his disciples he will not do, and what does he say he will do? John 14:18
- Who will see him no more, and who will see him as one who has what? John 14:19
- Where is Jesus, and where are we? John 14:20
- Who is the man who loves Jesus, and how does he conduct himself? John 14:21, 1 John 2:5‑6
- Who will love him who loves Jesus? John 14:21, John 16:27
- What will Jesus reveal to him? John 14:21
Personal ‑ What are the ways that Jesus has revealed himself to you at home, at school, at work, or at church?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 66:1‑7, 16, 20
(“…sing praise to the glory of his name;”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 66:1‑7, 16, 20.
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
ACTS 8:5‑8, 14‑17
Philip went to Samaria, a country of people who were regarded with condescension by the Israelites because they did not follow the law of Moses. It is incredible that he had chosen to go to an unwelcome city to bring the healing power of the Lord. The healings were many, and a sense of joy spread throughout the city. When the apostles heard of what happened, they followed and baptized many in the name of the Lord and consequently many received the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told his apostles to go forth and be witnesses in all areas even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). The new faith was officially formed when Stephen was killed and this began the rejection of the new faith (Acts 8;1). We ask, what does baptism bring to us today? Baptism brings us into a new beginning, a new family (God’s family). It is a cleansing of old ways and the beginning of a new way (Jesus’ way). The Holy Spirit releases his full range of power through you in Confirmation (Acts l:8). The great tragedy of our times is that so many Christians today do not even know that within them they have the greatest power in all the world (1 John 4:4).
Do we really believe that the Holy Spirit dwells within each one of us who believes that Jesus Christ is Lord? The way we live our life is a visible proof of what we really believe. If the Holy Spirit does not seem to be present in your life, seek him out through Scripture and prayer. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to resist the devil and causes him to flee (James 4:7). Much of the world today is hostile to Jesus Christ, but because of his Holy Spirit, we are called to be victorious disciples and baptize all the nations of the earth (Matt 28:19). With God’s help, we will.
1 PETER 3:15‑18
Faith, to many people, is a personal and private matter that we try to keep to ourselves. Yet, probably the best kept secret is the revelation that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of the whole world. We do not have to be boisterous or objectionable in sharing our faith, but we should not hide it under a bushel basket (Matthew 5:15) or keep it from being seen like a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14).
When asked about our lifestyle, we should always try to answer gently and respectfully in compliance to our faith. Is your faith in Christ readily observable by others? I don’t mean, by what you do, I mean by who you are. Are you prepared to tell others what Jesus Christ has done in your life? Are you prepared to suffer for Christ, such as losing your job, going to prison, opposing abortion or even being assassinated because you have convinced others that you are a Christian? If you were arrested today for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Let your lifestyle be so much in accord with what Jesus teaches that their accusations will be empty and only embarrass them. Your conduct as a follower of Christ must be above criticism. We are called to be his messengers and, like Jesus, we can expect suffering along the way.
Jesus had promised to leave his Holy Spirit with his followers and they were somewhat confused, and wondered how he could leave them and still be with them. In the form of human flesh, Jesus was available only to those who were where he was, but now he is available wherever we are through his Holy Spirit. his Spirit resides in our temple (body ‑ 1 Cor. 3:16) and he is always prepared to use his presence to help his people. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God within us and all believers.
He promised that his Father would give us another comforter and that he would never leave us. Do you really believe the presence of God exists within you? Jesus stated that he does live within us and that he will never leave the heart of one who believes in Him. The comforter is a combination of comfort and counsel. The Holy Spirit is a powerful person who is working for us and with us. We have to know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (14:17), and is our teacher. We must remember that he will show us what to do and what to say when we are in a crisis. All of our intelligence and human wisdom are weak and insignificant compared to his wisdom. We must never seduce ourselves or others into thinking that the Holy Spirit is not our teacher or that he will ever leave us.
He is our Spirit of truth. He will give us the courage to speak when it is easier to be silent. He will be within us and comfort us when all others will mock us, abandon us, or even kill us. But, we are not to be pitied; rather, we are to be ecstatic with joy because Jesus has chosen us to be his ambassadors. This means we have the incredible privilege of being messengers of the Good News and, with the Holy Spirit who resides within us, we are far more than conquerors.
The first reading reveals to us that the gift of healing can be present through just an ordinary touch of the hand on someone who is suffering. The second reading reveals the depth of our faith by our response. The Gospel tells us of the promise of Jesus to leave his Holy Spirit with us and empower us with his love.