Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church, Harwich, Essex

Seventh Sunday of Easter 12 May and Pentecost Sunday 19 May 2024

Seventh Sunday (John 17:11-19)

This lengthy prayer is a deep and intimate prayer, focused on the disciples, but also focused on us, as Jesus leaves us to return to the father. Jesus prays that we be kept true to his name. It is easy to show enthusiasm in the beginning, but the life of faith has its good times and bad. Jesus speaks freely of the one who chose to be lost. The reference here is clearly to Judas, who freely turned against Jesus. God does not reject us, seeking the opportunity to condemn us. God yearns for our positive response of love. We can only lose ourselves.

Jesus is to leave this world, but he shares his joy with us, the joy of the resurrection which no one can take from us. But Jesus knows that the world is not a comfortable place for people of faith. We do not belong to the world, just as Jesus did not belong to the world. He came into this world to bring freedom and truth. As Jesus goes to the father, we are sure that through the Spirit, the Advocate, we can maintain our faith and consecration in the truth.

What do I do to maintain my love for Jesus, and increase my understanding of his truth?

Do I allow the values of the world to deceive me so that I lose sight of the values given by faith?

Let us pray for those seeking direction and meaning in their lives, that they may be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We pray especially for those recently baptised and received into the Catholic Church, that they may persevere in fidelity to the truth revealed by Jesus.


Pentecost Sunday (John 20:19-23)

The account of the day of Pentecost is found in our first reading, from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Fifty days after the resurrection there was a spectacular manifestation of the power of the Spirit. Jews and Proselytes, gathered from the nations for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, witness the power of the Spirit and hear the preaching of the apostles each in his own tongue. This event launches the mission to the whole world.

The gospel today is related to the preaching of forgiveness and the possibility of new life for those who ask for it. The disciples are empowered to bring the forgiveness of Christ, but it is possible for people to reject this forgiveness. This seems to be the sense of the final verse, that some have their sins retained.

This is the final day of the Easter period. The Lord who died on the cross has shown himself in his risen body. He has taken our humanity into the presence of the Father. He is no longer visibly present, but His Spirit is with us to remind us of Jesus and to lead us all into truth. That Spirit, as St Paul writes to the Corinthians, bestows gifts in abundance for the benefit of the whole Church.

Do I allow the Holy Spirit to transform my life?

Do I seek the peace and forgiveness offered me through prayer and the sacraments?

Pray for the whole church, that Christians everywhere will be enlivened by the Holy Spirit.

Pray that the Easter gifts of Christ will always be with us                                      Fr Adrian Graffy