Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Have you ever been visited by representatives of a particular religion or church going door-to-door to evangelize? While most of us probably have I suspect the reverse is not true. Rarely do Catholics engage in such face-to-face faith sharing. I know I’m very shy about approaching a total stranger with a request to consider learning about Jesus.
Today’s Scripture selections continue our Easter instructions for the newly-baptized. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles reflects how Christian witness might be received—persecution was a real threat for the Church in Jerusalem.
The First Letter of Peter seems to reflect a similar harsh reality. Peter urges Christians to approach others ready to explain who we are, but to do so with “gentleness and reverence.”
That reminds me of the advice that St. Francis of Assisi gave his brothers who were thinking of being missionaries. He told them to “avoid quarrels or disputes and to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake.” Francis was quoting from the First Letter of Peter. The letter goes on to encourage those fearful of persecution to remember that Christ also suffered persecution.
In the Gospel, Jesus himself assures us that we will not be alone; the Holy Spirit will be present with us to support and guide us.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In this week’s first reading (Acts 8:5-8, 14-17), Philip goes from Jerusalem to spread or proclaim the Christ to the people of Samaria. Was he able to change people to have faith? Why was he successful?
Later Peter and John went to Samaria to pray for the people there that they might receive the Holy Spirit. When did they receive the Holy Spirit? What did Peter and John do for them?
• In the second reading (1Pt 3:15-18), what does Peter tell his hearers—and us—to do?
Peter says that Jesus suffered and died for our sins? Why did Jesus do that?
• In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells the disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Then what will Jesus do for them?
Jesus says he will not leave the disciples orphans but will send another Advocate to be with them always. Who is that Advocate?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• In this week’s Gospel, Jesus talks about sending an advocate. Think about someone who has been an advocate for you during your life. It could be your parent, a teacher or coach. Let him or her know what their actions mean to you.
• Recently, the Vatican released a downloadable book entitled “Strong in the Face of Tribulation,” that contains prayers and the Pope’s homilies as “a sure support in time of trial.” Make use of this resource with your family.