Reading 1 (ACTS 20:28-38)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 68:29-30, 33-35A, 35BC-36AB)

R.(33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.
R. Sing to God, O Kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.
Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
R. Alleluia.

Allelluia (SEE JOHN 17:17B, 17A)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 17:11B-19)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me,
and I guarded them, and none of them was lost
except the son of destruction,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that they may share my joy completely.
I gave them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world
but that you keep them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth. 
Your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
so I sent them into the world.
And I consecrate myself for them,
so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: In the Gospel (John 17:11b-19), Jesus continues his High Priestly Prayer to the Father. First, he prayed for his glorification after fulfilling his ministry and his disciples to have faith in him (yesterday’s Gospel). Now, he prays for the preservation and sanctification of his disciples in the world. The ‘world’ he is mentioning is a not literally the whole planet Earth, but a certain group. He is referring to the worlds of selfishness, arrogance, persecution, and malice. He knows that he will face his Passion and Death, wherein his own people will hand him over to the Gentiles, the Romans. Likewise, he knows that Christians will have to face trials, sufferings, and persecutions because of their faith. Yet he asks God to protect them by the word and consecrate them to the truth. Christ did suffer, die, and rise again for our salvation, however, there are still some who choose to live in the darkness of sin, which is why they tend to do evil. But those who believe in him and obey his teachings will be kept safe from harm and attain eternal life in heaven. In the First Reading (Acts 20:28-38), Saint Paul exhorts the presbyters of the Ephesian community to keep watch over the Christians in their area as overseers against the wolves, proclaim the word of God in speech and deed, and practice charity to the needy. This echoes the distributed mission of the Church that each Bishop and priest assigned in certain territories and communitied are tasked to keep God’s message alive for all people to heed and be inspired to do what is good and right. So as we journey down the end of this Easter road, may we be faithful to Christ and his teachings in the Good News because we are also part of the mission of Evangelization.

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