Focusing on the Essential
May 10, 2020
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, fill me with your Spirit. Fill the Church with the Spirit of truth. Guide us with your wisdom and lead us with your word.
1. Filled with the Spirit and Wisdom: The men that the apostles wanted to appoint as deacons had to be filled with the Spirit and with wisdom. This implies detachment of one’s own will and attentiveness to what the Spirit wants. Our deacons today are also called to serve in God’s name and seek to do his will rather than their own. Wisdom is a virtue that begins with fear of the Lord. We’re not called to be afraid of him, but to be in awe of him, aware of his power and might. Wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.” These virtues are not exclusive to deacons. We can all pray for them so that we can be better witnesses, and contribute to the evangelizing mission of Christ and the Church.
2. Devotion to Prayer and Ministry of the Word: The apostles considered their primary task to be that of prayer and ministry of the word. They knew that any action, however well-intended, is less effective when not flowing from prayer as its source than when it comes from the very source of life and truth. The apostles could not leave aside the essential element of prayer, no matter how many other seemingly good and important things arose. Rather than allow the demands of the apostolate to infringe upon their wellspring of apostolic action, the apostles wisely trusted others to collaborate in the mission. How is their example applicable in our lives?
3. The Word of God Continued to Spread: The apostles were faithful to God’s invitation to do what was required of them–prayer and ministry of the word–and the number of followers increased. God blessed their efforts and they rejoiced over the fruits of their labor. God is eager to act through us when we can remain docile and in tune with his will. And when we become aware that our efforts, in conjunction with God’s grace, have extended the Kingdom here in our midst, our hearts can also rejoice.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you are the source of all grace. When I feel overwhelmed and not sure how to balance everything, through prayer show me the way to resolve things according to the Spirit.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take a quiet moment of prayer to ask you what essential thing you want me to dedicate myself to and what steps I must take to achieve that.
For Further Reflection: Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s book on 'The Discernment of Spirits' is an excellent place to learn to distinguish the voice of the Spirit and discern what is essential in one’s life.