Seventh Sunday of Easter (C)
May 29, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.



Rite of Sprinkling





Graciously hear our supplications, O Lord,
so that we, who believe that the Savior of the human race
is with you in your glory,
may experience, as he promised,
until the end of the world,
his abiding presence among us.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Acts 7:55-60

Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened
and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice,
covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”
and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Responsorial Psalm 97:1-2,6-7, 9

R. The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.

The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.

The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
All gods are prostrate before him.

You, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.

Second Reading Rev 22:12-14,16-17,20 

I, John, heard a voice saying to me:
"Behold, I am coming soon.
I bring with me the recompense I will give to each
according to his deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,
the beginning and the end."

Blessed are they who wash their robes
so as to have the right to the tree of life
and enter the city through its gates.

"I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.
I am the root and offspring of David,
the bright morning star."

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come."
Let the hearer say, "Come."
Let the one who thirsts come forward,
and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

The one who gives this testimony says, "Yes, I am coming soon."
Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Alleluia Cf. Jn 14:18

Gospel Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
"Holy Father, I pray not only for them,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them."

Reflection Questions

How are you among those “who want to receive the gift of life-giving water?”

How do you experience  “the love with which God loved Christ being in you?”

What is your prayer to the Spirit during this Pentecost novena?

Catena Nova

Ah, Lord God, thou holy lover of my soul, when thou comest into my soul, all that is within me shall rejoice. Thou art my glory and the exultation of my heart; thou art my hope and refuge in the day of my trouble. Set me free from all evil passions, and heal my heart of all inordinate affections; that being inwardly cured and thoroughly cleansed, I may be made fit to love, courageous to suffer, steady to persevere. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing more courageous, nothing fuller nor better in heaven and earth; because love is born of God, and cannot rest but in God, above all created things. Let me love thee more than myself, nor love myself but for thee; and in thee all that truly love thee, as the law of love commandeth, shining out from thyself. Amen. (Thomas a Kempis)

Of this ardor there springs unity of heart; for we cannot achieve true unity unless the Spirit of God blows to a flame His fire in our hearts. For this fire makes one with itself and like to itself all that it can master and re-shape. Unity is this: that a man feel himself to be gathered together with all his powers in the unity of his heart. Unity brings inward peace and restfulness of heart. Unity of heart is a bond which draws together body and soul, heart and senses, and all the outward and inward powers and encloses them in the union of love. (Bl. John Ruysbroeck)

See how important is this union and concord.  So, long for it, pursue it, embrace it, and hold on to it with all your strength.  For I tell you, living all together, thus united in heart, you will be like a mighty fortress, or a tower impregnable against all adversities, persecutions, and deceits of the devil. (St. Angela Merici)

What a holy time this is from now to the feast of Pentecost!  A holy week indeed: the Advent of the Holy Ghost.... All those who serve Jesus Christ are one, belong to the church of God and the Christian congregation.  Una est amica mea, una est Columba mea.  God speaks to his church and says: You are one, my love; you are one, my dove. (Canticles 6:8)  And so it is right also that in this holy season we should prepare ourselves, and with the holy apostles desire the coming of the Holy Ghost.  Let us raise our hearts to Heaven and our eyes full of tears, let us cry: “Comforter of my soul!  Come, console me!”  And during all this time let us do nothing else but desire the Holy Ghost to come to our souls. Seek seclusion throughout this week in preparation for the Holy Ghost!... During these days find a secluded corner for yourself and stay there.  Contemplate the Blessed Virgin and the holy apostles gathered together in the Cenacle.  How would they have behaved?  What would they do?  How they would have wept thinking of the passion of Jesus Christ, sorrowful for his absence.  What sighs they would send to Heaven, longing for this Holy Ghost, their comforter and their healer....And it is essential to observe great reverence during this week, since we are preparing for such a great feast.  Do you know, brethren, how important is this occasion and what you will lose if the Holy Ghost does not come to dwell in your house?  For neither the feast of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ – the principal feast of the whole year – nor the feasts of his holy birth, passion, or redemption and ascension into Heaven will benefit your soul if you do not profit by this feast; and all that Jesus Christ gained for us will be lost to you.  Although it is true that with the death of Jesus Christ Heaven was opened and hell shut – how can this benefit you, if you do not receive the Holy Ghost?  Without the grace of God nothing can help you.  But if the Holy Ghost is within you, you can avail yourself of all those other aids and consolations. (St. John of Avila)

Religious conversion is being grasped by ultimate concern. It is other-worldly falling in love. It is total and permanent self-surrender without conditions, qualifications, reservations. But it is such a surrender, not as an act, but as a dynamic state that is prior to and principle of subsequent acts. It is revealed in retrospect as an under-tow of existential consciousness, as a fated acceptance of a vocation to holiness, as perhaps an increasing simplicity and passivity in prayer. It is interpreted differently in the context of different religious traditions. For Christians it is God's love flooding our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. It is the gift of grace. (Bernard Lonergan)

Love is invisible, but it is the most powerful force in human nature. Jesus spoke of the Spirit which he would send as Truth but also as Love. “If anyone loves me, my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him.” .... Ultimately a religion is tested by its capacity to waken love in its followers, and, what is perhaps more difficult, to extend that love to all humanity. In the past religions have tended to confine their love to their own followers, but always there has been a movement to break through these barriers and attain to a universal love. (Bede Griffiths)

God gathered a people to himself in the Old Testament and in the fullness of time sent his Son to establish the Church as the sacrament of unity for all humanity. God calls each of us to belong to this great family. None of us become Christians on our own; we owe our relationship with God to so many others who passed on the faith, who brought us for Baptism, who taught us to pray and showed us the beauty of the Christian life: our parents and grandparents, our priests, religious and teachers. But we are Christians not only because of others, but together with others. Our relationship with Christ is personal, but not private; it is born of, and enriched by, the communion of the Church. Our shared pilgrimage is not always easy: at times, we encounter human weakness, limitations, and even scandal in the life of the Church. Yet God has called us to know him and to love him precisely by loving our brothers and sisters, by persevering in the fellowship of the Church and by seeking in all things to grow in faith and holiness as members of the one body of Christ. (Pope Francis)


Christian Unity....Again

            I was saddened recently to learn Thomas Troeger had died.  He was a renowned preacher, hymnographer, and professor of homiletics.  I was fortunate to have him as my advisor decades ago when pursuing a degree in ministry.  He was supportive in every way; his teaching and writing transformed my preaching.

            I confess, however, that I approached the enterprise with some trepidation even though it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.  There I was, a Catholic priest, attending the Colgate-Rochester Divinity School -- a Protestant seminary -- to study homiletics. (I never even considered a Catholic institution for a degree in preaching!)  My peers and professors  included Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists and other Roman Catholics.  Despite our different backgrounds, we were able to study, pray, and socialize with openness and respect.  We realized how we shared a far deeper unity in Christ than we might have imagined before we came together despite our differences which, by the way, were not glossed over. 

            My experience was a good example of what Pope Francis said at the conclusion of this year’s week of prayer for Christian unity.  He named one of the main obstacles to Christians fulfilling Jesus’ prayer that they may be one (G): “The fear of a newness that upsets our usual habits and our sense of security; the fear that others may destabilize my traditions and long-established patterns.... The Lord wants us to trust one another and to journey together, despite our failings and our sins, despite the errors of the past and our mutual wounds.” (Jan. 25, 2022) 

            Speaking more recently of the main challenges facing those who aspire to greater unity in the body of Christ, Francis made the following comments to a meeting of the Anglican-Catholic Dialogue Commission, again reminiscent of that transformative time in my life:

It is about doing, not just speaking. It involves getting to know one another personally and not merely through books. Every search for deeper communion must be an exchange of gifts, where each makes his or her own the seeds that God has sown in the other.  This demands courage, but it is the spirit of gift, since each true gift entails sacrifice, entails transparency and courage, and openness to forgiveness. Only in this way will the various exchanges of gifts and experiences help to overcome the usual formalities and touch hearts. Only in this way will we become attuned to the Holy Spirit, the gift of God, bestowed upon us in order to restore our harmony, for he himself is harmony that reconciles unity in diversity.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are never given for the exclusive use of those who receive them. They are blessings meant for all God’s people: the graces we receive are intended for others, not for our own private use, and the graces others receive are necessary for us. In the exchange of gifts, then, we learn that we cannot be self-sufficient without the graces granted to others.

The things that divide, past and present, and keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus and the goal that he desires and points out to us: the goal of visible unity between us. That unity must be received with humility, as a grace of the Spirit, and is to be pursued by “walking together”, supporting one another on the journey. (May 13, 2022)

            Oh yes, the Spirit has a way of  bringing people together, overcoming differences, pointing out new paths, doing all kinds of unexpected things, and has done so in our own time.

            So in this time of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost, we might look especially to the Spirit for healing of divisions among Christians, and not only divisions between the churches, but divisions within the Catholic Church itself.  For Catholics too are divided over many issues and concerns.  Just ask the Archbishop of San Francisco and the Speaker of the House.  These too can be entrusted to the Spirit whom Jesus promised would come in his place and guide us to all truth.

            A final word about Tom Troeger.  He was a Presbyterian minister who later in his career became a priest in the Episcopal Church, while retaining his previous status.  That did not surprise me since I was aware of his affinity for a more liturgical and sacramental tradition than his own background afforded him at the time I knew him.  That’s one reason he was so open to my thesis-project on preaching the “blood of Christ.”  I would like to think our conversations might have had something to do with the following hymn he wrote a few years later.  The lyrics have perhaps a special resonance in light of the horrific gun violence in Buffalo and Texas.  They certainly speak of the unity for which Christ prayed as well:      

God made from one blood all the families of earth,

the circles of nurture that raised us from birth,

companions who join us to walk through each stage

of childhood and youth and adulthood and age.

We turn to you, God, with our thanks and our tears

for all of the families we’ve known through the years,

the intimate networks on whom we depend

of parent and partner and roommate and friend.

We learn through families how our closeness and trust

increase when our actions are loving and just

yet families have also distorted their roles,

mistreating their members and bruising their souls.

Give, Lord, each family lost in conflict and storm

a sense of your wisdom and grace that transform

sharp anger to insight which strengthens the heart

and makes clear the place where rebuilding can start.

Make wide that wisdom and that grace to include

the races and viewpoints our families exclude

till peace in each home bears and nurtures the bud

of peace shared by all you have made from one blood.

Nicene Creed


Intercessions  (Cf. Joe Milner; The Sunday Web Site)

For the Church: that we may continue the mission of Jesus and bring forth the reign of God through our worship, our work, and our relationships each day.

For the coming of Christ’s reign: that we may strive with great dedication to bring hatred, injustice, and all the evils of our society under the saving and redeeming love of Christ.

For all who spread the Good News, particularly missionaries, preachers, and writers: that God will inspire them to announce God’s saving love and healing presence boldly and dynamically.

For the healing of racism: that all nations and peoples may recognize the value and dignity that God has given each person and work together to bring forth the reign of God in the world.

For government leaders: that God will inspire them with courage and new understanding as they work to develop new immigration policies.

For all victims of violence, especially the victims of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas: that God will heal their pain, ease their fear, and give them the courage to engage with life fully.

For an end to drug trafficking: that God will turn the hearts of those involved with illegal drugs and empower those with addictions to seek help.

For peace in our cities and neighborhoods: that God will break the patterns of violence, open new ways to resolve disputes, and give courage to all working to be peacemakers.

For peace in Ukraine and elsewhere: that God will bring an end to armed conflicts, protect the vulnerable for harm, and open new pathways to peace and understanding.

For all who have died in the service of our nation: that God’s glory will shine upon them and that they may share in the peace of the heavenly kingdom.

Father, righteous one,
your beloved Son prayed
that his disciples in every generation
might be one as you and he are one.
Look upon this assembly
gathered in his name.
Fulfil in us the prayer of Jesus
and crown our celebration of this paschal season
with your Spirit’s gift of unity and love.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Motet (from Robert Cundick’s,“The Redeemer”)


He is the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

And the Spirit and bride say, “Come.”

And let him who heareth say, “Come.”

And let him who is athirst, come.

And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

He which testifieth these things saith, “Surely I come quickly.”

Even so, “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:16-17, 20 KJV)

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn (Fulbert of Chartres)


Ye choirs of new Jerusalem, your sweetest notes employ,

the Paschal victory to hymn in strains of holy joy.

For Judah's Lion bursts his chains, crushing the serpent's head;

and cries aloud through death's domains to wake the imprisoned dead.

Devouring depths of hell their prey at his command restore;

his ransomed hosts pursue their way where Jesus goes before.

Triumphant in his glory now to him all power is given;

to him in one communion bow all saints in earth and heaven.

While we, his soldiers, praise our King, his mercy we implore,

within his palace bright to bring and keep us evermore.

All glory to the Father be, all glory to the Son, all glory, Holy Ghost,

to thee, while endless ages run.