Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts18,9-18; Resp. Psalm: Ps47,2-7; Gosp. Accl.: Mt28,19-20; Gospel: Jn16,20-23
"Do not be afraid." "Do not be silent." "I am with you. No man shall attack you to harm you." These were the words of assurance and consolation our Lord addressed to St. Paul in today's first reading when he embarked on the mission of evangelization in Corinth.
The mission of Paul in Corinth was hugely successful. God brought about a great harvest of souls in the city. This was because the Lord had promised and assured Paul that He would be with him. Even when his opponents brought accusations against him before the proconsul at the tribunal, alleging that he was persuading the people to worship God contrary to the law, Paul still came out unscathed.
At the tribunal, God used the proconsul on the side of Paul. The proconsul told them that he would not adjudicate in matters concerning their religion and thereafter drove them out of the tribunal. They then turned against one another, beat up the ruler of their synagogue in front of the tribunal. God proved to them that nothing could stand in the way of His will and no one could truncate His designs.
The Lord in one of His last farewell messages to His disciples, had warned and prepared the minds of His disciples about the inevitability of persecution of His disciples and hatred against His message. In today's gospel, he categorically declared that they would weep and lament, but that the world would rejoice.
The disciples would be sorrowful on account of their commitment and faith in Him, but their sorrow would turn into joy. Their sorrows and pain would be like those of a woman in travail of labour when the child is about to be delivered. The anguish and pain are forgotten, once the child is born into the world.
In the same way, the believer who suffers for the gospel will have the last laugh. In these words of assurance from our Lord, there is great consolation and peace for all who witness to the Lord in suffering: "So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me."
The Lord is always with us. He will never abandon or forsake us. When we are single-minded in the work He has given to us, He will always be present to us to protect us. He will not leave us alone to the desires of the jackals. He will be with us to assist us. Let us hold on to this all the time.
Let us pray: "O God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ, raise us up, we pray, to the author of our salvation, who is seated at your right hand, so that when our Saviour comes again in majesty, those you have given new birth in Baptism may be clothed with blessed immortality." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.