Fifth Week of Easter: Apr. 28 - May 4, 2013

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. - John 14
Fifth Week of Easter|The Fifth Sunday of Easter brings us stories from Acts of the Apostles of Paul and Barnabas and their work in the early church. They spread the good news to the Gentiles and then "called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles." John's Gospel returns to the Last Supper. Jesus gives his followers a new way of life: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."|Monday is the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church. Friday is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with its own special readings. Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr.|All week, as we read about the inspiring development in the early community - with the acceptance of the good news by the Gentiles - we experience the assurance of Jesus.|The Gospels this week continue the "Last Discourse" of our Lord, taking chapters 14 and 15 of the Fourth Gospel.|In these marvelous chapters we experience Jesus, "the way, the truth and the light." He consoles his disciples with the gift of his peace, which is different than the peace the world offers.|What Jesus gives is a relationship as close as a vine is to its branches. He calls us to remain connected with him so that we can remain fruitful. Without him, we dry up and wither. When we are so united with Jesus, we can ask him for whatever we need to be fruitful. His invitation is for us to remain in his love, to make our home there. The resulting relationship is that of a friend. And this friendship is his gift to us - not our choosing him, but Jesus choosing us as friends who can open our hearts to him.|Therefore, in this relationship of connectedness and fruitful love flowing to us and through us to others, Jesus says that the one command he gives us is that we love one another - that we stay loving and fruitful.|Finally, Jesus reminds us that if the world didn't like his announcing and living of this good news, then it won't like our announcing and living it either.|John's Gospel offers us comfort and peace in a very direct way for the 6th Sunday of Easter. Jesus says "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
Daily Prayer This Week|We can hold the words of Jesus in our hearts all week. As we do, we will discover their attractiveness and invitation. We will also encounter resistance in ourselves and in others.|It takes practice to stay focused in the background of our daily life. We all have years of habit to overcome. However, we can practice letting this consoling message of Jesus find a place in our awareness at various points in our day, whether it is in the shower, while getting dressed, or simply whenever we are on our way from one place to another. Sometimes it will take a conscious effort to let these thoughts replace the thoughts that are there already. In the background of our day is where our worries reside. It's where we carry anxiety and stress. Sometimes it is where we carry on imaginary conversations with others or "replay" past conversations like a song that we can't get out of our heads. This is when we turn those returning anxieties over the God, asking God to heal us.|This is a great week to get in touch with our deepening desires and to let my conversations with Jesus grow in friendship. The easiest way to do this is to say simple ordinary things -- the very way I would say them to a close friend. Some examples might offer words that will inspire our own conversation with the Lord who loves us.|"Jesus, every time I hear you say I don't have to let my heart be troubled, I pause. I sense you are pointing to the 'troubles' I'm working through today. You're asking me to let go of them, aren't you? I'd like to, Jesus, but some of this is big stuff. It scares me. I know some of what I need to do, but I put it off. I know what I'm avoiding. It helps to focus on your love for me this week. I guess what I really need to ask you for today is that you help me to trust you more completely. It is really nice these days to feel that you are so close to me, and that I'm not alone today."|"I haven't been very connected to you, Jesus. This conversation is difficult because it reminds me the embarrassing stuff I keep doing - and even now, I'm ashamed to talk about it in your presence. Please forgive me. Some of this I want to bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that I can be re-connected with you again. I need a 'turning point,' Jesus. Thank you for being there."|"Good night, Jesus. Thank you for today. Let me put everything aside tonight. I know you will be with me all day tomorrow."
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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