Reflection on the Daily Readings for 5/22/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Friday of 6th week of Easter. Acts 18:9-18. psalm
47:2-3.4-5.6-7. John 16:20-23. Lectionary # 295.
Jesus compares the joy the apostles will have after his return and
glorification to that of a mother giving birth to her baby. The pain and
anguish the woman has experienced is soon overcome once she sees her baby
alive and looking into her face. She is so over-joyed and grateful that she
no longer dwells on the excruciating pain of giving birth. She now is
focused in love for her baby and has inexpressible feelings of joy and
affection. This is how the apostles will experience the Resurrection of
Jesus after the little while of separation that he had been telling them.
The pain they suffered is similar to mothers and fathers who have lost
their baby or a son or daughter. Only their faith in the Resurrection can
help them to get through their loss. Somehow they touch into the joy that
Jesus has promised to those who believe in him and his resurrection. And
isn’t the resurrection the only truth that can get us beyond our own
personal dying? Is there any other answer to the mystery of death for
humans? Just becoming a part of the molecular structure of the universe
just does not do it for us who have faith in Jesus.
Paul manifests such strong faith in the resurrection that he continually
preaches it to those who listen. He pours out all of his energy in this
proclamation that Jesus is Lord over death. People are so moved by his
preaching that many join in his desire that they believe and are baptized.
In the reading we learn how he remains in Corinth for a year and a half.
There he works hard to build Christian communities of faith in the Lord
Jesus. Many come into the church because of Paul. Despite all the
suffering he goes through he continues to preach, teach, and to live with
those who believe and convert to the Way of Christ. All is endured for the
sake of the Gospel.
Luke is the one who furnishes us with this “history” of Paul’s missionary
efforts as we move more into the second part of the Acts of the Apostles.
What we read furnishes background for following his own personal and
pastoral concerns that we learn of in his epistles. Perhaps, Luke even
accompanied Paul on some of these journeys as we learn of the “we” sections
in the Acts of the Apostles. We are edified and challenged in learning how
much one person could do for the sake of the Gospel. Paul has fulfilled
what Isaiah talked about in saying one would come who would be the light
for the nations. Simeon also said something similar when he said of Jesus
that he would be the light which shall give revelation to the Gentiles,
this is the glory of the people of Israel.”(Luke 2:32). We have already
learned that Paul’s life is so closely bound up with Jesus that he could
say, “For me to live is Christ.” Amen.