Optional Memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia
The Gospel passage from John 16 proclaims, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name he will give you. . . .[because] you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.” in the opening words of In today’s Gospel, the disciples react to this statement. In the next verse of chapter 16, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. . . . We believe that you came from God.” No sooner has Jesus convinced the disciples that he has come from God than he predicts that these “believers” will scatter when he is arrested and leave him alone. But he reassures them that he will not be alone “because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage. I have conquered the world.”
The disciples think they understand Jesus and are confident they will remain loyal, but when he is arrested, they flee. In today’s first reading, Paul encounters disciples like Jesus’ disciples at the Last Supper — they have been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism but have not yet received the Spirit. After Paul baptizes them in Jesus’ name and lays hands on them, they receive the Spirit.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in Saint Rita of Cascia’s life (1381-1437) helped her endure eighteen years in an arranged marriage that ended when her cruel husband died. The Spirit was with her when she became a nun, as she had always wanted to do, and spent forty years in the Lord’s service as a mystic, counselor, and caregiver to the poor and the sick.
Lord, send the power of your Holy Spirit upon us so that we may remain faithful and do your will in our daily lives. (Collect)