Reflections

Thursday in the 4th Week of Easter, April 29, 2021

WE ARE SERVANTS WITH CHRIST
Introduction
In his preaching, Paul presents Christ as the one who is coming which the whole Old Testament was leading to, and John the Baptist as the immediate announcer of Jesus’ appearance of that fulfillment. Jesus had told his disciples quite insistently and emphatically that neither power nor rank was to be the mark of the disciple but service: serving love. Now at the Last Supper, he showed this by his own example when he, the Lord and Master, washed the feet of his apostles. They, the servants, are no greater than their master. And his messengers are no greater than Jesus who sends them.
 
Opening Prayer
All-powerful God,
your Son Jesus, reminds us today
that we are no greater than your and our servant,
Jesus, our Lord and Master.
Give us the love and endurance
to serve you and people
without waiting for awards or gratitude
and to accept the difficulties and contradictions,
which are part of the Christian life
and which are normal for followers
of him who bore the cross for us,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: ACTS 13:13-25
From Paphos, Paul and his companions set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia. But John left them and returned to Jerusalem. They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials sent word to them, “My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt. With uplifted arm he led them out, and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance at the end of about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. Then he removed him and raised up David as their king; of him he testified, I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish. From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a saviour, Jesus. John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.'”
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 AND 27
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. or: Alleluia.
 
The favours of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness. R.
 
“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.” R.
 
“My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him,
and through my name shall his horn be exalted.
He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the Rock, my saviour.'” R.
 
Alleluia: REVELATION 1:5AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: JOHN 13:16-20
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, the one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
 
Commentary
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
Jesus explains that he has received everything from the Father, and calls him “my Father”, to affirm the unique nature of his relationship with him. Indeed, only between the Son and the Father is there total reciprocity: they know each other, the one lives in the other. But this unique communion is like a flower that blossoms to freely reveal its beauty and its goodness. And here then is Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me…” He wants to give what he receives from the Father. He wants to give us truth, and Jesus’ truth is always free: it is a gift, it is the Holy Spirit, the Truth. (Angelus, 5 July 2020) (cf. www.vaticannews.va).
 
Intercessions
For the leaders and ministers in the Church, that they may not seek honor and power, but in all simplicity, serve their brothers and sisters, we pray:
For all those in public office, that they may not just seek power and private gain but give the best of themselves to work for the interests of people and country, we pray:
For doctors and nurses, that they may serve the sick with great love and dedication, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, our God,
as your Son Jesus himself serves us
in the signs of bread and wine,
he asks us to drink with him the cup
of self-sacrificing service.
Let your Son fill us with that love
which he alone can understand
that to be great is to serve others
and to use up our lives
to give them a chance to live.
May we seek no other reward
than to share the destiny of Jesus,
our Lord and Saviour forever. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Loving Father,
in this Eucharistic celebration
your Son Jesus has been with us
as the servant of us all.
Let him dispose our hearts
and give us his sensitive courage
to understand and accept others,
to accompany them on the road of life,
to suffer their pains, to rejoice with their joys
and to carry each other’s burdens,
that he may be with us,
now and for ever. Amen!
 
Blessing
“Servants are no greater than their master,” is Jesus’ reminder to us today. What moves service and makes it dedicated and unobtrusive is love. If we love people, they can come and ask us for any service. May God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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