6th Week of Easter
Isidore the Farmer
1st Reading: Acts 16:22-34
So they set the crowd against them and the officials tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and ordered them to be flogged. And after inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to guard them safely. Upon receiving these instructions, he threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly a severe earthquake shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and the chains of all the prisoners fell off. The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself, but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.”
The jailer asked for a light, then rushed in, and fell at the feet of Paul and Silas. After he had secured the other prisoners, he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and your household will be saved.” Then they spoke the word of God to him and to all his household.
Even at that hour of the night, the jailer took care of them and washed their wounds; and he and his whole household were baptized at once. He led them to his house, spread a meal before them and joyfully celebrated with his whole household his newfound faith in God.
Gospel: John 16:5-11
Jesus said to his disciples, “But now I am going to the One who sent me and none of you asks me where I am going; instead you are overcome with grief because of what I have said.
“Indeed believe me: It is better for you that I go away, because as long as I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go away, it is to send him to you, and when he comes, he will vindicate the truth in face of the world with regard to sin, to the way of righteousness, and to the Judgment.
“What has been the sin? They did not believe in me. What is the way of righteousness? I am on the way to the Father, meanwhile you will not see me. What Judgment? The Ruler of this world has himself been condemned.”
How puzzling! Search your ordinary experience for the clue. It is possible to be so much around a person that you don’t see or understand them at all. You see a thousand details but you miss the essence somehow: you fail to see the spirit of the person. If Jesus had remained visibly present we would possibly fail to see him deeply. Many disciples “walked no more with him” (Jn 6:66), having known him for months or years. His absence, strangely, paradoxically, makes him more present. He is present to us through his Spirit.
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