“And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11).
Both our First Reading and Gospel passage today are set in a tone of departure; Paul is leaving the region of Asia and he is giving a Farewell Speech. Jesus nearing the time of his arrest was and knowing his time to return to the father was close said a prayer of departure.
In truth, whatever has a beginning must have an end. It is a matter of wisdom to always keep the end in view. We are not born to live in this world forever. Moreover, a fulfilled life is not measured by the number of one’s days but the quality of those days.
As a minister, a father, a mentor, a teacher etc., can I say like St. Paul that I am innocent of the blood of my congregation, my children, my employees, or those under my care? Can I beat my chest to say that I never led any one of these little ones astray?
Ordinarily, death is something very good; a moment to look forward to as it affords us the opportunity to enter into the arms of the true love of our lives. Death gives us the chance to experience true bliss safe in the presence of God who made us.
However, we dread the very thought of death, we hate to hear about death and we even consider it a bad omen to dream about the death or see a dead body. Why are we so scared of death? Simple answer: The quality of our lives – Regrets for not living well or not accomplished enough.
Paul was not afraid to die, he said: “you will see my face no more.” At only 33 years old, Jesus prayed: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do… I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world…” Jesus was too young to die but there was no point living having completed His assignment.
Imagine you died but God gave you a second chance to return to this world. How would you live your life? Let your answer guide your life from this moment. The best time to die is not necessarily at old age, it is when your time comes; when you have finished the race and fought the good fight. Stop procrastinating. Just begin! Amen. Bible Study: Acts 20:17-27, Psalm 68 and John 17:1-11).
Be of Good Cheer, I Have Overcome The World
“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
It is not God’s will that we should be sad and miserable in life. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says to us: “Cheer up, I have overcome the world.” In other words, tribulations may come, but victory is assured. As children of God, the battles we fight have already been won on the Cross of Calvary. So we fight not as victims but as victors.
To be happy when everything is going well with you is normal. But to be cheerful and happy when things are not going well is extraordinary – it requires faith in God. Being cheerful may not change the situation immediately, but it changes us first. We begin to see open windows where we thought there were only closed doors.
Like Paul and Silas who were locked up in prison, being cheerful in the midst of crisis gives us a reason to sing instead of crying. In the end, our cheerfulness brings about a manifestation of the Spirit. Dear friends, regardless of what you are facing, be cheerful. Smile!
Do you know that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy? There is nothing spiritual about being moody or annoyed or depressed. Do not go about with a gloomy appearance carrying past hurts and pains. Learn to forgive and let go immediately. St. Paul would say: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
In our first reading, we encounter another fruit of the Holy Spirit which is the ability to speak in tongues. We are told that as soon as Paul laid his hands on the people of Ephesus, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Note this, they did not simply speak gibberish, they spoke intelligibly in other languages; they spoke words of prophecy. It was because people could understand what they were saying that they knew these were prophetic utterances.
Speaking in tongues is not something we learn, it comes from the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is not the deliberate pronunciation of sounds that do not make meaning to us. Be careful, do not fake it. The gift of speaking in tongues I believe helped the early Christians spread the faith to many lands and people whose languages they did not understand. It is not the only sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person.
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us your Sacred fire. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 19:1-8, Psalm 68 and John 16:29-33).