Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
June 9th, 2011
Deb Fortina

Academic Affairs
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Thursday in the Seventh Week of Easter
[300] Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16:1-2a+5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
John 17:20-26

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11 “…My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.

Psalm 16: 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 91-10, 11  …You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever…”

John 17: 20-26 “…I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.…”

Saint Ephrem (306? – 373)  Deacon and Doctor of the Church; St. Ephrem was quite prolific and took on many church heresies in his time; a song writer and poet, he wrote songs which disputed the heretical belief of his day.   Because of his vast collection of writings, there is much on the net on this saint.   A sample follows as he is writing about reflecting on Scripture, “Lord who can grasp all of the wealth of just one of your words? What we understand is much less than we leave behind, like thirsty people who drink from a fountain…The word of God is a tree of life that from all its parts offers you fruit that is blessed.  It is like that rock opened in the desert that from all its parts gave forth a spiritual drink…”  

St. Ephrem’s experience of reflecting on scripture, so perfectly described my own reaction to today’s Gospel reading, which I read prior to looking into the saint of the day.  It was a grace filled moment, and I immediately felt connected to this long ago brother in Faith.  St. Ephrem was describing how powerfully you can feel the Word sometimes, and I had that experience in reading today’s Gospel.

John’s Gospel is one we could read everyday, and not tire of the message.  Jesus is praying to Our Father, saying “I pray not only for these (his disciples then), but also for those (us today) who will believe in me through their word.  He says he wishes we could be with him, so we could see the Glory that He, God, the Father has given him.  And Jesus describes us as being a “gift” from the Father to him.  This passage speaks so easily to us today, we can easily lose the large time span and feel his presence among us.  Compassion, and sincerity we are made to feel important and he is praying for us living today.  Wow, pretty cool.

In reading through Paul’s experience in today’s first reading, I couldn’t help but see how we continue to show a lack of respect for each other’s faith; like when people are still killed for their faith.   There seems to be more damage done to other human beings in the name of religion and we know Christ would not have condoned these actions.  I doubt if the founders of other Faiths were alive today, if they would condone these actions either.  Because the Sadduccees don’t believe in a resurrection they begin to argue and emotions carry the crowd to madness.  Paul is almost killed inside this crowd, before being rescued.  Today let us think about how we treat each other, and ask in prayer for the words to say to each other, remembering to pray before we speak.   As Christ spoke to Paul after his rescue, we understand he is talking to us too, may we properly bear witness to Christ’s cause to spread the Gospel.  We pray for docility. 

I thank Fr. Aloysius McMahon, who passed away recently for awakening an interest in the lives of the Saints in me; St. Ephrem, pray for Fr. Mac.

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