Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Tues. May 11, Lectionary # 292. Acts 16:22-34. Psalm 138:1-2,
2-3,7-8. John 16:5-11.
Several of the conversion stories are ideal for our Easter Season's
liturgical readings. They show the response of individuals and groups to
the Gospel of Jesus as witnessed by the apostles and especially by Paul.
In a sense, they are quick and short episodes that reflect what takes a
longer time today in preparing people for Baptism and entrance into the
Church (R.C.I.A.). We have a special and vivid event in the Acts today as
Paul and Silas are imprisoned with others. They are praying inside the
jail and singing hymns just as Paul encourages us to do in his Epistle to
the Galatians and elsewhere in his writings. The Holy Spirit blows open
the doors after a tremendous earthquake hits the surface of the city. Even
the chains and padlocks are loosed which give evidence of something
stronger than just a natural disaster doing this. The apostles are freed
and they through Paul save the poor jailer who was ready to kill himself
for the fact that all were released from prison. He realizes through the
calming advice of Paul that he is in the presence of believers in a God he
never knew. His own assessment is that he would like to believe as they
do; then he invites them to his home, bathes their wounds, and has his
whole household joining in his belief. A new community of believers is
being formed in believing that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. Baptism is
recieved by them and the Eucharist is celebrated in the context of the
meal served. Baptism and Eucharist are the sacraments that are strongly
emphasized throughout the Scriptures of the New Testament.
Reflecting on the surprise release from prison, we can join in the singing
and praying of the psalm for today that is quite close to the feeling that
the apostles and those released have. The following words may help us to
join in the celebration of those released: "I will give thanks to you, O
Lord, with all my heart...Your right hand has saved me, O Lord."
Throughout this Psalm 138 three key words are used; God is called
"Lord"--so is Jesus! This happens seven times. Thanksgiving is the theme of
the whole Psalm and the word for that in Hebrew is "Todah" (also same in
modern Hebrew). Finally, covenantal fidelity and love from the Lord is
The Gospel of John now takes up the theme of judgment. It will be the Holy
Spirt who will do the convicting for sin, unrighteousness, and submission
to the prince of darkness who will be condemned with those who prefer to
follow Satan. This differs from the Synoptics in that the Holy Spirit will
be the Judge. It will be part of the Spirit's work in the world after
Jesus' return to the Father. The life of the Church and its members will
be the mission of the Holy Spirit. The conscience of the world will be
stinging about its sinful guilt; the holiness, righteousness and integrity
of Jesus will be vindicated for his ignominious death on the Cross, and
darkness will no longer reign for the Prince of this world (the Devil) will
be cast out and thrown into the prison of the underworld. Amen. Alleluia.
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