Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts20,17-27; Resp. Psalm: Ps68,10-11,20-21; Gosp. Accl.: Jn14,16; Gospel: Jn17,1-11
Paul set his life as an example. He told the elders of the Church at Ephesus that he had lived a life worthy of emulation among them. He had served the Lord with humility and fidelity, with passion and commitment. He knew his life was always in danger, but that did not deter him from his course of witnessing to the Lord Jesus.
Paul knew that imprisonment and afflictions awaited him for bearing witness to the gospel. But even these did not stop him from his course. This is because this great witness did not count his life of any value any more. What mattered to him was to finish the race he had begun, accomplish the course entrusted to him by the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel till the end of his life.
For this great witness, the gospel was life. Not preaching it was seen as a curse, not testifying to it as a great loss. The joy of his life consisted in how many souls he rescued for Christ. This was why he could declare publicly to the faithful in Ephesus that he was innocent of the blood of all of them. Since he had declared to them the whole counsel of God and did all that he should for them, anyone of them who lost his soul would be personally held responsible for it.
Every faithful witness must learn a lesson from the life of Paul. Paul himself learnt at the feet of the risen Lord. Our Lord had told His disciples in His last discourse at the Last Supper that He had made known all that the Father manifested to Him and had manifested the Father's name to the men the Father gave Him out of the world.
Our Lord had given them all that they needed to know. He had given eternal life to all those entrusted to Him by the Father. Eternal life was to know the Father and the Son whom He sent. Our Lord's mission was to glorify His Father here on earth, to make the Father known. Our Lord did this His entire life.
He committed the mission to us. Paul responded by living out the mission faithfully till the end. We are called to continue that mission and bring it to perfection in our own time. May the good Lord assist us in doing this. As we await the coming of the Holy Spirit, may we be on fire with the divine love of God to do His work with sincerity of hearts.
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty and merciful God, that the Holy Spirit, coming near and dwelling graciously within us, may make of us a perfect temple of his glory." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.