Fourth Week of Easter: May 15 - 21, 2011

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14
Fourth Week of Easter|The Fourth Week of Easter gives us a continuing picture of how the Holy Spirit is guiding the early community. Peter's preaching is full of fire and it is effective in bringing many to baptism. Sunday's gospel begins our reflection on Jesus as the gate, the gate keeper and our shepherd, all from the 10th chapter of the Fourth Gospel. Jesus describes the intimate relationship he has with us: "I know my own and mine know me." We recognize his voice and we follow him.|The first readings this week continue the story of the growth of the community, through the Acts of the Apostles.|For the gospels this week, we read from John's Gospel, chapters 10, 12, 13 and 14 - all emphasizing who Jesus is - from the Father and one with the Father. He has come to bring us light and life. He promises us that he is the gate, the way to life. And, he assures us that if we make our home in him, he will be in us, and we will thereby be one with Jesus and the Father. He says, "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved." "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me." "From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM." "Do not let your hearts be troubled." "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." "If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."|All of this leads us to the 5th Sunday of Easter where in the gospel, we hear Jesus console us, asking us to not let our hearts be troubled because he goes only to prepare a place for us and that "No one comes to the Father except through me."
Daily Prayer This Week|This is potentially a powerful week for entering into how available Jesus is for us. He promises to be with us, to make us one with him, even to make his home in us. He promises to keep us safe and to bring us to our true home to be with him forever. The opportunity we have this week is to accept this offer of deepening our relationship with our Lord. We accept it if we let his availability to us seep more and more deeply into our consciousness each day. We do this by beginning each day focusing our first thoughts of the day in a simple recognition that we are not alone: "Thank you for this day, Lord. I know you want to stay close to me, to guide me and support me today. I need some real strength and courage to face some of the challenges of this day. Help me to keep connecting with you throughout this day, to remember your presence and love." This 20 second prayer will open our day to a Lord who invites us surrender our troubles to him.|At various times of the day - especially when we approach a particularly challenging responsibility, or an occasion or situation in which we habitually lose our peace or give in to temptation - we can be renewed by another 20 second prayer. Each time we turn to the Lord, our "moment of connection" can become more specific, more intimate, and more confident.|If we find ourselves sidetracked and distracted all day, or for several days, it is easy to get right back on track by pausing, while doing almost anything, and asking our Lord to remind us of his constant presence. We will quickly return to a sense that Jesus knows us, understands us, and wants to be with us in whatever troubles our hearts. And, each night, when we give thanks to our Lord for his fidelity to us throughout the day, we will be given the grace to know, again, that we are never alone.|We are rejoicing in this Easter season and asking God to shower us with the light of salvation that John's Gospel refers to so often. Even now, weeks after Easter, we rejoice!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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