In these days between Ascension and Pentecost, we gather with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the Spirit to transform the church around the world. In today’s gospel Jesus prays for his followers and for their mission in his name. Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with his Father. Made one in baptism, we go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.
Readings and Psalm
- Acts 1:6-14
Jesus’ companions at prayer after his departure
- Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
Sing to God, who rides upon the clouds. (Ps. 68:4)
- 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
God will sustain and restore those who suffer
- John 17:1-11
Christ’s prayer for his disciples
First Reading: Acts 1:6-14Today’s reading is part of the introduction to the narrative of the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost. These verses tell of the risen Lord’s conversation with his disciples on the eve of his ascension.6When [the apostles] had come together, they asked [Jesus], “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Psalm: Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35Sing to God, who rides upon the clouds. (Ps. 68:4)1Let God arise, and let God’s ene- | mies be scattered;
let those who | hate God flee.
2As smoke is driven away, so you should drive | them away;
as the wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the pres- | ence of God.
3But let the righteous be glad and rejoice | before God;
let them also be mer- | ry and joyful.
4Sing to God, sing praises to God’s name; exalt the one who | rides the clouds;
I Am is that name, rejoice | before God!
5In your holy habita- | tion, O God,
you are a father to orphans, defend- | er of widows;
6you give the solitary a home and bring forth prisoners | into freedom;
but the rebels shall live in | desert places.
7O God, when you went forth be- | fore your people,
when you marched | through the wilderness,
8the earth quaked, and the skies poured down rain, at the presence of God, the | God of Sinai,
at the presence of God, the | God of Israel.
9You sent a bountiful | rain, O God;
you restored your inheritance | when it languished.
10Your people found their | home in it;
in your goodness, O God, you have made provision | for the poor.
32Sing to God, O kingdoms | of the earth;
sing praises | to the Lord.
33You ride in the heavens, O God, in the | ancient heavens;
you send forth your voice, your | mighty voice.
34Ascribe pow- | er to God,
whose majesty is over Israel; whose strength is | in the skies.
35How wonderful you are in your holy places, O | God of Israel,
giving strength and power to your people! | Blessed be God!
Second Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11Our faith in Christ does not make us immune from the scorn of others. Nevertheless, we are to resist the designs of evil when we experience disparagement from others, because we trust God’s grace will strengthen and guide us.12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
5:6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. 10And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel: John 17:1-11On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus prays to his heavenly Father, asking that those who continue his work in this world will live in unity.1After Jesus had spoken these words [to his disciples], he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”