Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sunday May 25 SIMPLE PRAYERS ARE GOOD PRAYERS

SIMPLE PRAYERS ARE GOOD PRAYERS
(A biblical reflection on THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – May 25, 2014)
Gospel Reading: John 14:15-21
First Reading: Acts 8:5-8,14-17; Psalms: Psalm 66:1-7,16,20; Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:15-18
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The Scripture Text
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you.”
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:15-21 RSV)
In the Gospel, we saw Jesus taking the apostles as they were and where they were. They were mixed up, puzzled, confused and frustrated. They were particularly concerned and distraught because Jesus had said that He would have to leave them. They were suffering the terrifying human fear of being left to face life all alone. There is scarcely anything more frightening than the thought of having to grapple with the problems of human existence all by yourself, with no help, no guidance, no consolation from anyone else. It is the fear felt by the widow without her husband, as her children have gone from home to live their own lives. It is that terrible illness, called “homesickness,” experienced by the young person who has left home for a strange, new school. It is the terror of the small child lost on a camping trip.
ROHHULKUDUSJesus understood how His apostles felt. He wished to make it clear that their fear was groundless as He said, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Paraclete – to be with you always … I will not leave you orphaned; I will come back to you.” We can see one example of the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise in today’s first lesson. Even after His ascension Jesus did not abandon the people of Samaria, in whose region He had worked miracles during His public ministry. His help to them came from Philip the deacon, who was acting on the impulse of the Holy Spirit, as he responded to Christ’s command to preach the Gospel. Philip left Jerusalem for Samaria. There his preaching met with immediate success. When further spiritual help beyond baptism was needed – that is, the giving of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands – Philip and Peter and John came to Samaria and confirmed the new converts.
What happened in Samaria has continued down through the centuries. The promise of Jesus has also been fulfilled in us. We too have received the Holy Spirit, and because of Him we are not left alone. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are present within us. But we have to find God even within ourselves. We have to search Him out. We must respond to His presence within us. In a word, we must pray.
If we have the idea that real prayer is only for mystics, or that prayer must be a very complicated formulary with just the right words of theological precision, , we should rid ourselves of that notion. Simple prayers are good prayers. Exalted through the Mass truly is, even here we find simple prayers and we learn just what earnest, sincere prayer should be.
We begin the Mass with the sign of the Cross, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Prayer begin with a recognition of God, and should include an awareness of His presence within us. Most assuredly we stand unworthy before God because of sin. At the very outset of each Mass we are asked to realize our sinfulness. At the celebrant’s invitation we all bowed our heads and tried to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries. As a group of people trying to offer God suitable worship, we humbly asked forgiveness of our sins. That is a theme which continues as we pray “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
YESUS BERODA DI TEMPAT SUNYIThroughout the Mass we turn to God for help in all the many prayers of petition, especially the Prayer of the Faithful as well as in the presidential prayers at the end of the entrance rite, the preparation of the gifts, and the Communion rite. Each Mass itself is a total prayer or praise and thanksgiving, as the very word “eucharist” signifies.
Even this sketchy survey of the Mass should help us to see that the prayer of the Mass is basically very simple. “God help me … forgive me … thank You” in essence that is our prayer. They help us to be ourselves before God, and they have the advantage of beginning right where we are with God. Simple prayer will help us to find God, so that we need not be left alone in the struggle of life. Our prayer at Mass must carry over into the other activities of our lives. Take the time and make the effort to continue prayer through the week right where you are at any time. In our minds and hearts, if not on our lips, let each of us say “God help me … thank You.” Of course our own words are best, but these three simple ideas are what make up good prayer.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it is indeed a terrifying experience to be left all alone in life. Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, however, we need not have that experience, only if we learn to turn to You with simple earnest prayer in all the aspects of our lives. We pray this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Jakarta, 23 May 2014

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