5th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 16:1-10
Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him, and Paul wanted him to come along with him. On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled from city to city, they handed on to the people for observance the decisions reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem. Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number. They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.
Gospel: Jn 15:18-21
Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
YOU DO NOT BELONG TO THE WORLD: The nature of our relationship with the world is an important theme in Johannine literature (Jn 15:19; Jn 17:16; 1Jn 2:15). Often this is paraphrased as, you are in the world but not of the world. What does it mean? Take the water lily, for example. The water lily might grow in dirty water; it needs the water, but it will always stand above the water. Actually, the water does not even stick to its flowers and leaves. When the water is one-foot it goes down to one-foot, when the water comes up, the flower too comes up, but it never gets submerged by the water. If it does, it will get rotten. Same with our attitude towards the world. We are invited to stand above it, even if we are in it.
Prayer: Lord, help me have my feet firm on the earth and my eyes fixed on heaven.
WITH HIM TILL THE LAST CONSEQUENCE: Jesus called us to be with him (cf. Mk 3:14). He is the school where we learn life and build up our faith; He is also our own destiny. He calls us friends to be with him every moment of our lives, just as in a conjugal relationship – in health and sickness, in richness and poverty, in good times and bad times. Tribulations are the proofs of such an intimate communion: “the one who holds out to the end will be saved” (Mt 24:13). Persecution and difficulties in our journey of faith, both personally and as community do not mean that we are failing; they rather point out that we are being faithful to Jesus and his Gospel of justice and peace. There might be more tranquility by conforming ourselves to the criteria of the world but there is more joy in living the Gospel in radically.