We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.

Acts 1:21-22

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Acts 1:15–17, 20–26; Psalm 113:1–8; John 15:9–17

In the first reading Peter called for the election of Judas’ replacement. The criteria are clear: someone who had been with Jesus from the beginning and could witness to his resurrection. Ultimately, after praying for guidance, they left the choice to God’s will, as revealed through the casting of lots.


It was the community at the time that proposed the two choices. But I wonder if we had to do things today, who would our church community recommend? Who are the men – and women – that the community in our Church today is recognizing as meeting those criteria? Are we ‘witnesses to the resurrection’ in our lives? Can we become aware of those resurrection-moments in our own lives when we encounter Jesus? Because when we do, we are invited to love and to see the world as he sees it.


In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that we must keep the Ten Commandments to remain in God’s love. Sometimes, perhaps, we might see the commandments as a burden – but this is a mistake. The commandments in English are often translated as “You shall not”, but the Hebrew can be equally translated as “You will not”. I believe there’s a fundamental difference in the way we experience them. The first is a command. The second is a promise.


Why not reread the commandments today taking out ‘shall’ and replacing it with ‘will’, e.g. “I am the LORD your God; you will have no other gods before me.” And you will not kill, you will not commit adultery, you will not steal, etc. Let us remember the words from the Gospel: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

Loving Father,

help me to keep your law, and to see it as the wisdom of a loving father, or a caring mother.

Help me to remain in your love, and grant me the grace to fully know the hope you offer.

Let me know the joy in keeping your commandments as they help me to abide in your love.



Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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