Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: May 17. Monday. Lectionary # 297. Acts 19:1-8. Psalm
68:2-3,4-5,6-7. John 16:29-33.
“Reciting the creed is one thing, living it another.’An hour is upon them
(the disciples)when, for all their assurances, they will scatter and leave
Jesus alone.” (Dom Ralph Russell). Jesus is concluding his long discourse
while telling the disciples that he has overcome the world. They must
strengthen their faith in him to understand the power of the prince of
darkness who will now have his hour as Jesus leaves them through his death
on the Cross. Jesus has promised an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to come to
them. He also has told them that he will overcome the prince of this world
(Satan). Now he is speaking clearly and they think they understand him and
presume they too will overcome anything that is to happen. But Jesus is
giving them a reality check and a warning.
The disciples are not that strong once the tragedy of Jesus’ suffering and
death begin. They will all leave him except for the Beloved Disciple and
the holy women. Jesus’ mother is among them. She is always there as we
learn earlier in this Gospel. Only she and the other women named Mary will
be with him throughout the “hour” of darkness. He has predicted the
disciples failure and abandonment of him but they are not convinced this
would be possible. They think they will remain faithful but will soon find
out they are not. He will die alone except for those mentioned at the foot
of the Cross. Satan will have his hour but God will have his eternity.
Jesus knows this but they do not.
After his death, they like Paul and Apollos who are mentioned in the
reading from Acts, will participate in his victory after his resurrection
and after the Spirit has come to enlighten them, to strengthen them, and to
empower them for bold witnessing of the Gospel. Then they will experience
the peace and joy that Jesus spoke about in his discourse.
Paul and Apollos understand their role in continuing the power of Jesus’
presence in them. They are eager to have others share this presence of
Jesus so they preach, teach, and witness to him to all whom they meet up
with. Their preaching is about the Easter mysteries that we have enjoyed
these forty some days. We are coming to the time of Pentecost when we too
are under the power of the Spirit and are able to come through the darkest
hour or hours that we experience. Peace will overcome our anxiety; joy
will be within our hearts as we pray in the presence of Jesus. Our “hour”
could be a victorious one dedicated to prayer that reflects on the scenes
and narratives given to us this day. We could also join our prayers to
those who wil face their last moments as we often pray and say “..pray for
us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Alleluia.