Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter, May 18
When Our Faith in God’s Truth Is Tested, He Will Bear Our Difficulties and Strengthen Us with His Spirit, If We Lean on Him and Ask for His Help:
“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” – words in today’s Gospel which speak of the faith which each of us holds so dear to our heart.
When our late Holy Father, Pope St. John XXIII, saw that the Church was not reaching out to the faithful in an ever-changing and evolving society, he had convened the Second Vatican Council for the purpose of fostering a change – bringing Christ’s Church to truly be more representative of God’s Truth by allowing Christian doctrine to be more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all peoples of the world.
Despite the comments from naysayers and all those, including some clergy and theologians who have misinterpreted and perverted the results of the Council, the four years of work by this Council did not change a single iota of God’s Truth! What it did accomplish, however, was to make His Truth more present in the world, so that the Church itself would become more vibrant and dynamic in its very life of faith, hope and love.
Over the past several years, and continuing even today, there are many dioceses across the United States and in other countries which are continuing to undergo a major transition, a reconfiguration of deaneries and parishes, so that what ultimately evolves will be newly formed parishes which take on that same sense of vibrancy and dynamism, a new and fresh vitality if you will, as an extension of what Saint John XXIII envisioned, so that the newly formed Christian communities of parish ministry would be better enabled to live the life to which we are each called.
And it is the faithful living and preaching of God’s Truth which we find as a common thread running through today’s Scripture.
We find, in our First Reading, Paul’s discourse to the presbyters from the city of Ephesus. He felt as though he was nearing the completion of his final missionary journey, and he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit that he would not be returning to see any of them again.
Paul felt that his life was nearing its end, as he said “…in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.”
Yet, his faith and his spirits were high when he spoke, “Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Our Responsorial Psalm today is echoing the words of both Paul and Jesus in today’s Readings, as both speak about their impending persecution and death, for the psalmist is praying these words: “God is a saving God for us; the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.”
And in today’s Gospel, we hear what is called the “High Priestly prayer of Jesus”, as our Lord is praying a prayer of intercession in an intimate conversation which is directly addressed to His Father, a prayer of petition for the needs of His disciples both then and in the future – that all will be kept safe. Jesus is imploring His Father and ours with these words: “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours…”
Jesus is about to leave them to undergo His Passion – and He continues in prayer, “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
There are obvious comparisons we can make between today’s Readings – Jesus and Paul are both speaking words of farewell, but with different destinations: Paul to Jerusalem, and then later to Rome, where he expects to endure persecution, imprisonment, hardships, and possibly even death; Jesus, after His Passion and Death, will be seated once again at the right hand of His Father in Heaven.
The other comparison, of course, is that Paul is addressing his farewell directly to the leaders of the Christian community from Ephesus, while Jesus, raising His eyes to Heaven, is addressing His prayer to God the Father, the Creator of all that once was, is and ever will be.
However, the one element which is truly common in both of our Readings is that neither Jesus nor Paul spoke anything BUT the fullness of God’s Truth to all who would hear them speak!
We find Paul saying today, “…I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” And Jesus is saying to His Father, “…the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you.”
As faithful Christians, do we open our hearts to the fullness of God’s Truth, which is taught to us through Sacred Scripture, and interpreted for us by the teaching Magisterium of our Church?
Do we open our hearts to the various enlightenments given to us by the Holy Spirit throughout the course of our lifetime, as guideposts helping us to live a better and holier life?
Or do we profess that we follow Christ, but do not accept the Church’s teaching on those topics with which we do not agree or find ourselves uncomfortable accepting – such as artificial birth control, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, living together outside of marriage and pre-marital sex, and a whole laundry list of topics with which people from time to time will disagree and refuse to embrace?
We may not always hear these topics spoken from a church pulpit, for they tend to make people feel uncomfortable, but the will of God is very specific and very constant – and moral Truth NEVER changes, regardless of the cultural climate in which we live!
Paul was truly a missionary Apostle, for he endured many trials and setbacks during his some thirty years of missionary journeys. But the one thing with which he NEVER compromised was God’s Truth. Remember his words, “…I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”
And in the verses which follow today’s Reading, Paul warns them of the deceptions and lies which will invade and subvert the Truth, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.”
Are we able to identify with the Apostles when our Lord, speaking to His Father, said “…the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them”?
There will be times when we will find God’s Truth tested in our lives. There will be times when the “savage wolves” of secular and atheistic relativism will attempt to undermine that which we hold to be true and sacred. It is then when we will need His Loving Presence the most, for He will bear our difficulties and strengthen us with His Spirit, if we only lean upon Him and ask for His help.
For it is only when we place the fullness of His Truth at the very center of our lives, it is only when we recognize and reject the paganistic deceits and lies with which our culture deceives us, that our faith takes upon itself its own vibrancy, a living energy, if you will, for we begin to live our lives and conduct ourselves in accordance with His Truth.
It is only then, with God’s help, that we are able to truly live a life of faith, hope and love – a relationship in which Jesus Christ truly is our dearest and closest and most intimate Friend and Brother – in all that we think, in all that we say and do.
It is only then when our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel truly become our own – “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
And may these words echo the faith which we hold dear and know to be so true! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)
- “For I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” (Acts 20:27)
- “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29)
- “Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me.” (John 17:7-8)
- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.” (Hebrews 13:8-9a)
- “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37cd)
- “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.’ The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it.” (Genesis 3:4-6)
- “Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”(John 17:3)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly and Eternal Father,Anonymous
as Your child, I seek Your help and guidance.
Do not let me succumb to the temptations in life,
so as to fall into error and separate myself from You.
“Lord Jesus Christ,
You died for me so that I may be saved from sin.
Strengthen me through Your Love,
so that, by Your grace, I may always be one with You.
“Most Holy Spirit,
open my heart to all that destroys the soul.
Turn me away from sin and all the snares of the devil
who deceives my mind and fills my spirit with lies.
“All-powerful and Ever-living God,
please grant me the grace to love only what comes from You.
Strengthen me to resist each and every seduction of evil,
so that my life may always praise the glory of Your Most Holy Name. Amen.”