May 17, 2020
The Sixth Sunday of Easter
In today's gospel reading, Jesus speaks clearly of the Spirit he will send to his disciples of every generation. Earlier in John's gospel, Jesus announces that a person comes to birth as a child of God through water and the Spirit. In this reading he calls the Spirit another advocate, the one who will speak to the heart of the baptized who listen in silence for his voice.
In their prayers, hymns, and preaching, Western Christians have tended to place greater emphasis on Christ than the Holy Spirit. In these Sundays, when the role of the Spirit in Christian life is highlighted, it may be appropriate to reflect on our understanding of this seemingly silent yet ever-present person of the Holy Trinity.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
O God, from whom all good things come: Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to think those things which are right, and by your goodness help us to do them; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
1 Peter 3:13-22
Festivals and Commemorations this week
The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.
May 18 Erik, King of Sweden, martyr, 1160
Erik, long considered the patron saint of Sweden, ruled there from 1150 to 1160. He is honored for efforts to bring peace to the nearby pagan kingdoms and for his crusades to spread the Christian faith in Scandinavia. He established a protected Christian mission in Finland that was led by Henry of Uppsala. As king, Erik was noted for his desire to establish fair laws and courts and for his concern for those who were poor or sick. Erik was killed by a Danish army that approached him at worship on the day after the Ascension. He is reported to have said to them, "Let us at least finish the sacrifice. The rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere." As he left worship he was killed.
May 19 Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
By Dunstan's time, Viking invaders had wiped out English monasticism. Dunstan played an important role in its restoration. He was commissioned by Kind Edmund to reestablish monastic life at Glastonbury, which became a center for monasticism and learning. He was exiled by a later king, Edwy, whom he had publicly rebuked. After Edwy's death Dunstan was made Archbishop of Canterbury and carried out a reform of church and state. He corrected abuses by the clergy, encouraged laity in their devotional life, and was committed to concerns of justice. He was also well known as a musician and for his painting and metal work.
May 21 Helena, mother of Constantine, 330
Wife of the co-regent of the West, Helena (or Helen) was mother of Constantine, who later became Roman emperor. After he was converted to Christianity, he influenced her also to become Christian. From that point she lived an exemplary life of faith, particularly through acts of generosity toward the poor. She is also remembered for traveling through Palestine and building churches on the sites she believed to be where Jesus was born, where he was buried, and from which he ascended.
May 21 John Eliot, missionary to the American Indians, 1690
John Eliot was born in England, and his first career was as a schoolteacher. In 1631 he came to New England to preach to the Puritan settlers. In New England he developed an interest in the Algonkian Indians and learned their language and customs. He published a catechism in 1654 and in 1658 translated the scriptures into Algonkian, preparing the first complete Bible printed in the colonies. Eliot also established towns for Indians who had converted to Christianity. These towns were away from Puritan colonies and were established so that the Algonkians could preserve their own culture and live according to their own laws. Eliot also trained indigenous leaders to serve as missionaries to their own people.