23 May, 2020. Saturday of Week 6 of Easter

1st Reading: Acts 18:23-28

Aquila, a learned convert from Judaism, helps the church in southern Greece

After spending some time there Paul left and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Responsorial: Psalm 46: 2-3, 8-10

Response: God is king of all the earth.

All peoples, clap your hands,
cry to God with shouts of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, we must fear,
great king over all the earth.
God is king of all the earth.
Sing praise with all your skill.
God is king over the nations:
God reigns on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples are assembled
with the people of Abraham’s God.
The rulers of the earth belong to God,
to God who reigns over all.

Gospel: John 16:23-28

Final promises: Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete

Jesus said to his disciples,
”On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
”I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”
May your words, O Lord, enlighten and guide us. May they guide us through all present trials and keep us near to you.

Where the Spirit is alive and active

When Apollos decided to journey to Corinth after his baptism, the faithful in Ephesus encouraged him to go in their name. Believing that others could be inspired by the words of this learned convert, they sent a letter ahead of him to the church in Corinth. When Apollos reached Corinth, his knowledge of the Scriptures proved to be a great help to the local community.
This reading paints a fine picture of the church at its best – believers helping, supporting and encouraging others in the faith, helping one another to grow in the Lord. This is what the church is called to be in every generation, a church where the Spirit is alive and active. As we approach the feast of Pentecost we pray for the gift of the Spirit among us, as Jesus says in today’s gospel, “Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.”
While St John stresses guidance by the Holy Spirit, the Acts offers another aspect of faith – that we need guidance from fellow human beings. Apollos had great talent, but he needed others to prepare him for baptism. This gifted intellectual was the godson of Priscilla and Aquila. Notice how the wife is named before her husband, indicating her important role in the early Church. Texts like this help us to appreciate women’s ministry and the teamwork of married people in the Church’s outreach.
Jesus says he must leave this world in order to send the Holy Spirit. Apollos also leaves his past behind in order to follow his new calling. To realise the full scope of our personal mission, we will need to surrender to where God’s grace will lead us. On making this leap of faith we will be sollowing Jesus who said: “Now I am leaving the world to go to the Father.”

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