First reading Acts 7:55-60

The stoning of Stephen

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 96(97):1-2b,6-7,9

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
or
Alleluia!
 
The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
  the many coastlands be glad.
  His throne is justice and right.
 
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
or
Alleluia!
 
The skies proclaim his justice;
  all peoples see his glory.
  All you spirits, worship him.
 
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
or
Alleluia!
 
For you indeed are the Lord
  most high above all the earth,
  exalted far above all spirits.
 
The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.
or
Alleluia!
 

Second reading Apocalypse 22:12-14,16-17,20

Come, Lord Jesus

I, John, heard a voice speaking to me: ‘Very soon now, I shall be with you again, bringing the reward to be given to every man according to what he deserves. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Happy are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city.’
  I, Jesus, have sent my angel to make these revelations to you for the sake of the churches. I am of David’s line, the root of David and the bright star of the morning.
  The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ Let everyone who listens answer, ‘Come.’ Then let all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free.
  The one who guarantees these revelations repeats his promise: I shall indeed be with you soon. Amen; come, Lord Jesus.
 
 

Gospel John 17:20-26

Father, may they be completely one

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
 
‘Holy Father,
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.’
 
 
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May we be one!

“May they all be one”. In today’s gospel, Jesus is praying for us to be
bridge builders, to be people who work for unity, not division. Pope
Francis once said, “ I invite you not to build walls but bridges, to conquer
evil with good, offence with forgiveness, to live in peace with everyone”.
As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to be bridges that unite. When there
is a lack of unity, we can feel the effects of hatred, anger, indifference,
etc., in the family, faith communities, and society. Thus, true unity is a
consequence of our active, daily decision always to do the right action,
the good action, the loving action.
 
The kind of unity that Jesus desires from us does merely come from
human love but is the fruit of God’s love within us. Our communion with
God is the foundation of our communion with one another. Let us ask
the Holy Spirit to fill us with His love so that we can build bridges, not
burn bridges.
 
Question for reflection:
How can I be a bridge builder today?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.