Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today's readings

Today's Liturgy of the Word assures us that the establishment of the Church was not some kind of made-up aberration on the part of the followers of Jesus. In the first reading, Paul who is now doing battle for his life against the Pharisees and Sadducees, is told by the Lord that just as he has borne witness to Christ in Jerusalem, he must now do so in Rome. And he will do that by giving witness to his actions. This will lead to his death, but certainly his witness contributed to the establishment of the Church in that great city.

We are still hearing Jesus' prayer in the last hours of his life. Speaking to his Father, he prays not just for the disciples who have been part of his life, but also for all those who will believe in Jesus through their word. Sitting here at this Liturgy, we have to know that we are among those Jesus was praying for in those last moments. And the Father, who certainly would answer the prayers of his only Son, granted that the Church would be the steward of the great mysteries of Redemption.

These early clues of the Church that we hear about in today's readings were nurtured by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which we will celebrate in just a few days. What we should hear in today's Scriptures is that God always intended us to be one with him, or Jesus would never have prayed for that. And God always intended that the Church would be the institution to bring His creation back to Himself.