FLASH: Sunday Readings in Context - 7th Sunday of Easter, Year A

Omitted from Ebooks

The "double ascension" links Jesus' ministry "to the lost sheep of Israel" with the apostles' witness "to the ends of the earth". God's Kingdom, whose coming was enacted by Jesus, includes both forgiveness and judgement. After praying in the upper room, the eleven remaining apostles filled the vacancy in the 'twelve' - the twelve judges of Israel. Then the new-born Church was ready for its mission to be inaugurated at Pentecost. When God's Kingdom is finally established over the whole world. Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives, where the Jews expect all the nations to stream.

Expecting this end to disorder in the world to come soon, Peter continues his letter by encouraging Christians to avoid the sinful behaviour of others. Be glad, even if being a Christian brings suffering - as it will. Our suffering, like that of Jesus, shows the coming of God's Kingdom.

Jesus ends his long teaching at the last supper with this heartfelt prayer for those who believe in him. He has told his apostles they will be scattered. But He and his Father will take care of them, and Jesus prays that they may always be one, just as Jesus and the Father are one. Then He goes to the Mount of Olives to be arrested.

Acts 1:12-14; Ps 26; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11.

Resources for leaders and members of Bible study groups

Many Bible commentaries are available, but which is the best for a small group or an individual wishing to learn more about the Bible but lacking expertise or access to several texts? No individual commentary includes all knowledge - the ideal may be to use a whole library, but this is expensive and takes time.

This site aims to make available to others work that has already been done from a range of sources to compile notes suitable for leading a 90 minute discussion of lay people, or for those preparing for reading at Mass.

The notes arose from Bible groups at St Teresa's Catholic Church in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, England; at St Peter's, Ludlow, Shropshire; at St Patrick's, Northampton; the Chapel of Penha da França Madeira, and Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church, Madeira. Both St Teresa's and St Peter's are near the edge of their dioceses and travelling regularly to diocesan meetings was difficult, so we decided to run our own study groups.

We found it worth encouraging group members who were able and willing to do so, to take turns to prepare and lead our discussions, using their own source books or those borrowed from other members. In this way we soon realised that no member has special knowledge or authority and careful listening to differing views can be very rewarding!

It helped for meetings to be on a regular agreed schedule, so that members know when they will get home. EG a weekday evening for exactly 90 minutes. And perhaps to meet only during school terms, so that the commitment is defined.

The notes are personal distillations from a range of sources, which are listed for completeness. But specific references are not given - the notes are not intended as a formal commentary, but rather as prompts, information and comments to stimulate discussion. Considering a comment which you disagree with (or even with which you disagree!) can lead to an interesting discussion! And so too can the simplest of questions!

Acts is complete, with revisions to chapters 1-9 and 15-19. Galatians, Ephesians, Timothy and the Gospel and Letters of John are also complete. Also two-thirds of Revelation, and the infancy narratives of Luke and Matthew. Others will be added in due course.

Notes are grouped by chapters, but some chapters needed several meetings and these sub-divisions are indicated.

Please feel free to make copies of these notes for study purposes, although obviously they should not published for profit. For copyright reasons bible texts cannot be included - but light is often shed by comparing different texts.

I hope that leaders of other groups may find these notes helpful, and may also wish to contribute or provide links to their own work, so that it, too, can become more widely available. Please email me, Chris, at bible-groups.info with comments, contributions, etc.

Chris Oliver