With this Sunday we come to the end of the Easter season, often called a Week of Weeks, because it lasts 7 weeks, a complete number in the Bible. And the Easter season is always a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
In today’s First Reading, Acts 1:12-26, we see the listing of the 11 remaining disciples, and the adding of the 12th disciple to replace Judas. Notice the emphasis on prayer in this passage – the disciples devoted themselves to prayer, and prayed that the Lord would choose the 12th disciple to replace Judas. Matthias was the one upon whom the lot fell. Like those first disciples, let us be people of prayer.
Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all thanks and praise to You for calling us to prayer, for hearing and answering our prayers, and for teaching us how to pray. Enable us to be people of prayer. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
As the Easter season comes to a close, notice in today’s Psalm, 68:1-10, how the Lord takes care of those who are helpless and hopeless by driving away the unrepentant wicked. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the wickedness of sin, death, and the devil are driven away and Christ is the victorious Lord of all! Let us trust in Him and rejoice that He rescues and restores us to Himself.
Protecting and rescuing Lord, as we face difficulties and turmoil in life, let Your Holy Spirit work in our hearts and lives, leading us to trust more and more in Your faithfulness to drive away all evil and to win the victory in Jesus. Amen.
Today’s Second Reading, 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11, is a continuation of the apostle Peter’s letter to a congregation facing persecution. Notice how Peter encourages the congregation to hope in the Lord, even in the face of persecution. Many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world are facing persecution for the Name of Jesus. Let us pray for them – that they would remain strong in faith and that they would be delivered from their persecutors. Let us also pray for their persecutors, that they would turn away from the evil of persecution and turn to the Lord in repentance.
Holy Lord, let Your glory be known throughout the whole creation. Surround and uphold Your children who are facing persecution and martyrdom, keep them in faith, trusting in You, especially in the face of persecution. Let their witness of faith, hope, and love be a witness to their persecutors. Turn all persecutors to You in repentance, and deal with the unrepentant with Your justice and mercy. In Jesus Name, Who faced death for us, we pray. Amen.
The Gospel is recorded in John 17:1-11. This is part of the section of the Gospel of John called the High Priestly Prayer. It is a prayer Jesus prayed the night before His crucifixion. Notice that Jesus is praying for God’s glory to be made known, which happens through Jesus’ death and resurrection for our redemption. Jesus also prays for His followers, that through Him we would be united with the Father, that His glory would shine through us, and that we would be united in Him. Jesus loves us so much that He would die and rise for us, and He would unite us to the heavenly Father and to each other through Him. Let us be united to God and to each other in Him.
Lord Jesus, thank You for praying for all of Your disciples, including us, in Your High Priestly Prayer. Increase our faith to see Your glory in Your death and resurrection, and draw us closer to the heavenly Father and to each other in the unity You give, finally being fully united with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and Your people in heaven. In Your Name we pray. Amen.