Reading 1 (ACTS 16:22-34)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

The crowd in Philippi joined in the attack on Paul and Silas,
and the magistrates had them stripped
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
After inflicting many blows on them,
they threw them into prison
and instructed the jailer to guard them securely.
When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell
and secured their feet to a stake.

About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.”
He asked for a light and rushed in and,
trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Then he brought them out and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus
and you and your household will be saved.”
So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.
He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds;
then he and all his family were baptized at once.
He brought them up into his house and provided a meal
and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8)

R. (7c) Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple,
and give thanks to your name.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Because of your kindness and your truth,
you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Your right hand saves me, O Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia (SEE JOHN 16:7, 13)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord;
he will guide you to all truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 16:5-11)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Now I am going to the one who sent me,
and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’
But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts.
But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.
For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes he will convict the world
in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation:
sin, because they do not believe in me; 
righteousness, because I am going to the Father
and you will no longer see me;
condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: We are now a few days away from the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (June 2, 2019), and a week from the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday (June 9, 2019). In the Gospel (John 16:5-11), we see how our Lord Jesus Christ continues to tell the Apostles about the Holy Spirit, which will be their Advocate, Paraclete, and Guide in remaining and bearing the truth. He remained for forty days after his Resurrection, then the time came when he extended his arms and ascended into heaven. The Apostles felt sad when their Master left them, but he promised them that he would send them the Advocate to help them understand all that he has told them. Because of the Holy Spirit, they were not afraid to proclaim the Resurrection of our Lord. Even though they suffered persecution from the leaders and elders of the Jews and some different nations, they remain in the faith, and even at the end of their lives, shed their blood for the sake of the Gospel. In the First Reading (Acts 16:22-34), we hear how Sts. Paul and Silas, aka Silvanus, have been attacked by the Jews in Philippi, and then arrested by the magistrates who entrusted the jailer to guard their cells. However the power of God through their singing broke open the prison cells, that made the jailer think the inmates have escaped. But when Paul assured that all his prisoners were there, the guard wanted to experience salvation, so he together with his household was baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and even placed his faith in Christ himself.
When we received the Sacrament of Confirmation, we were empowered by the seal of the Holy Spirit to be soldiers of Christ, proclaiming his Gospel to others bravely and boldly. As Christians, we are tasked to bear fruit in the Lord’s vineyard. The reason why some of us are being persecuted is because those men continue to risk their lives for Christ, and they wished to remain in the faith, so they had to be martyred. For the persecutors, they died as criminals and lawbreakers, but in the eyes of God, they died for the truth. We should never be afraid to show our faith in the Lord, even in times when it seems at risk. As what our Church father Tertullian said: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” Let us also ask the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey, as we pray these words: “Come, Holy Spirit!” As we journey down this Easter road, let us be empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the name of our Lord to others, and manifest the values of his Gospel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.