THE CONTRARY SPIRIT

Saturday of the Fifth Week of EasterLectionary: 290


Reading 1 ACTS 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra

where there was a disciple named Timothy,

the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,

but his father was a Greek.

The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,

and Paul wanted him to come along with him.

On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,

for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

As they traveled from city to city,

they handed on to the people for observance the decisions

reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.

Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith

and increased in number.
They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory

because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit

from preaching the message in the province of Asia.

When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,

but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,

so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.

During the night Paul had a vision.

A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,

“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

When he had seen the vision,

we sought passage to Macedonia at once, 

concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 100:1B-2, 3, 5
R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;

serve the LORD with gladness;

come before him with joyful song.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Know that the LORD is God;

he made us, his we are;

his people, the flock he tends.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

or:

R. Alleluia.

The LORD is good:

his kindness endures forever,

and his faithfulness, to all generations.

R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Alleluia COL 3:1
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

If then you were raised with Christ,

seek what is above,

where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples: 

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;

but because you do not belong to the world,

and I have chosen you out of the world,

the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you,

‘No slave is greater than his master.’

If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,

because they do not know the one who sent me.” 
REFLECTION: THE CONTRARY SPIRIT

“They had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia they tried to go on into Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them.” –Acts 16:6-7
Six days from today, the Church begins the Pentecost novena. In this way, we prepare our hearts and open them to the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit is our Joy, our Hope, and the Desire of our hearts, the Spirit, being God, has ways and thoughts that are very different from ours (Is 55:8-9). Therefore, we naturally are resistant to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit proves the world wrong about sin, justice, and condemnation (Jn 16:8). The Spirit insists that we constantly realize that Jesus has chosen us out of the world and that therefore we don’t belong to the world (Jn 15:19). The Spirit would convict us as “enemies of the cross” if we are set on the things of the world (Phil 3:18-19).
Because the Spirit is all-knowing and we are not, the Spirit repeatedly must restrict us from going to certain places and doing certain things (Acts 16:7). This is frustrating for us because we feel the Spirit is treating us like children. Yet the fact is that in many ways we are and will always be like children due to our human weaknesses and limitations.
To receive the Holy Spirit, we must choose to be crucified to the world and the world to us (Gal 6:14). To receive the Holy Spirit in a deeper way, we must be humble and painfully realistic. Come, Holy Spirit!
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, I decide to humble myself before You.

PROMISE: “Through all this, the congregations grew stronger in faith and daily increased in numbers.” –Acts 16:5

PRAISE: An orphan, St. Bernardine was raised in the Faith by his faithful aunt.

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