Saturday of 6th Week of Easter, May 23, 2020

When we pray, what do we want God to do? Do we want to transform God with our prayers and bend him to do our own will, or do we seek his will? Do we have time in the dialogue of prayer to listen to him? Do we realize that he speaks to us in his word, in Christ, in the Gospel? And that he speaks to us in our personal history, the events of life, in people around us? If we pray in the name of Christ, it should be with Christ’s attitude of openness to God and his will.

1 Reading: ACTS 18:23-28
After staying in Antioch some time, Paul left and travelled in orderly sequence through the Galatian country and Phrygia, bringing strength to all the disciples. A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus. He was an authority on the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. After his arrival he gave great assistance to those who had come to believe through grace. He vigorously refuted the Jews in public, establishing from the Scriptures that the Christ is Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm 47:2-3, 8-9, 10
R. (8a) God is king of all the earth. or: R. Alleluia.

All you peoples, clap your hands;
shout to God with cries of gladness.
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth. R.

For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne. R.

The princes of the peoples are gathered together
with the people of the God of Abraham.
For God’s are the guardians of the earth;
he is supreme. R.

Alleluia John 16:28
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I came from the Father and have come into the world;
now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: John 16:23B-28
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. “I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

Can you imagine being a Christian without being baptized? Well, it happened in the case of Apollos, and older disciples in the early church as well (Acts 19:1-7). This incomplete incorporation may be an oblique indication of the respect accorded the life and ministry of John the Baptist, a fact also noted by the Jewish historian Josephus. In the case of Apollos and the other disciples mentioned in Acts of the Apostles, the absence of baptism is quickly remedied and full incorporation granted.
In our day baptism is held to be important, but it’s true meaning is often laid aside. It very often has social significance and little more. Yet this sacrament’s importance is strongly underscored in the scriptures. Its reception calls for commitment on the part of the baptized or, in the case of an infant, the parents. Baptism is the key to eternity and the door to the church’s spiritual riches. We wonder how it could have been by passed, as in the case of Apollos. At the same time, we should be equally distraught by its casual acceptance today.
Our prayers at Mass are directed to God the Father through or in the name of Jesus, his Son. And this is the way we are told to offer prayer in today’s Gospel. Jesus insists on his intermediary role. To offer prayer in Jesus’ name is to accord him his rightful place in the order of faith. No one else is ever given such an exalted position. But with the recognition of Jesus as Lord, and, as in John’s Gospel, to be called God, he is placed on equal footing in nature with the Father himself. The person praying already loves the Son and for that fact is already loved by the Father.
As both a grace and commitment, baptism links us with Christ. We can now address the Father as “Abba,” as Jesus did, and pray in the name of Jesus, our brother.

We are sure that God loves us and that he will give us anything good we need and ask in the name of Jesus. May God give you that certainty of faith and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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