Daily Reflection
May 20th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
John 17:20-26
Amazing things happen in the Acts of the Apostles and we hear of such a one in today's first reading from the Eucharistic liturgy.  Paul is dragged before his accusers who have been challenged by his preaching.  He sizes up the situation and gets them arguing between their two groups about whether or not there is a resurrection of the body.  Such a calamity occurs that Paul is taken back to headquarters where he is safe.

That night the Lord appears and though he has been spared, his life becomes more complicated, "Keep up your courage.  Just as you have given testimony to Me here in Jerusalem, so must you do in Rome."  Paul has heard His Master's voice before and knows the call well.

Jesus, in today's Gospel, confirms His friends as those who, like Paul, are to go out and make Jesus known by their preaching and living together in union with Him.  This is a comforting ordination message.  We are those to whom He has been sent, and also those who are sent in Him to bless this world and make it more blessed.  His coming Sunday is the celebration of the Sending of the Holy Spirit.  It is the official celebration of the beginning of the Church.  Jesus is praying for the Church in today's reading and is foretelling what it is to be Church and members of His unity.  "I do not pray for My disciples alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that all may be one..."

From the time that God breathed upon the chaos and the earth came into being, through the time of the Spirit's overshadowing the empty womb of Mary, the works or effects of the Holy Spirit are revelation through incarnation.  Just as our inner spirits are revealed through our actions and gestures, God's Holy Spirit reveals the laboring God through the gestures and actions of the believers who make God present in their lives.  We are giving God visibility and attractiveness through our being open to the urging of this same Spirit of holiness which is God.

Jesus stands among His friends and  is asking them to continue making Him real to a world that has not been made real enough by His teachings.  At the Eucharist today and every day, He stands with us His friends and invites us to the same mission of making Him present, attractive and real.  What of Jesus do I reveal?  How I do want to make faith in Jesus an attractive way for my being real.  We, like Paul in the first reading hear the same words as he did, that we need to have courage as we dare to witness not only in Rome but in our home and office and where ever the Spirit invites us to reveal the attractive God. 

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