In the first reading Jesus has been taken up to heaven and the Apostles are left behind. They return to the
upper room where Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood the night before He died. When He rose from the dead, Jesus met them there again to institute the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Now they are praying and waiting together for Jesus’ promise that He would send them the Holy Spirit. Are they filled with a sense of loss now that Jesus will never be visible to them like He was in His apparitions after He rose from the dead? Are they puzzled about what it means to have the Holy Spirit? Are they just plain scared? We do not know the answers to these questions, but present among them is the mother of Jesus.
Tradition has it that Mary taught John the Evangelist how to pray and this could explain why the Gospel of John is so different from the others. Mary’s prayer cooperates in a unique way with the Father’s plan of loving
kindness. Mary, the Mother of the Church unites us, as her adopted sons and daughters, to the Church because she was appointed by Jesus to be our mother at the foot of the Cross. Her maternal presence is that binding force that keeps the apostles together after the Master leaves. She holds them together till the Holy Spirit comes to strengthen them.
Peter’s reading reminds us that we share in the
sufferings of Christ. He makes two distinctions
however. There are sufferings that are the results of our sins. These sufferings are from violating our dignity of being made in the image and likeness of God. These are more of a kind of self-abuse suffering. But if it is caused for being a disciple of Christ, it is not shameful, but rather an opportunity to rejoice in glorifying the Name of God. This suffering is meritorious for us and holds a supernatural power.
The Gospel reading reveals more about Jesus’ relation to the Trinity and ultimately points to our own relationship. There is a warning, however. Jesus is praying for His followers, but it seems as if He is not including those who choose not to follow Him. But pay attention to how much He loves those who choose to follow Him. May we all be in that group of His friends by keeping His commandments