Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts22,30;23,6-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps16,1-2,5,7-10; Gosp. Accl.: Jn17,21; Gospel: Jn17,20-26
Paul used the division between the Pharisees and Sadducees to advantage. He spoke of the fact that he was chained and was being made to suffer as a result of his believe in the resurrection. This brought about a serious crisis between the Pharisees who held on to the reality of the resurrection and the Saduccees who repudiated this.
There was going to be violence and as Paul was going to be torn to pieces, the Tribune ordered soldiers to take him by force from among them and bring him to the barracks since he was also a Roman citizen by adoption. God granted Paul this wisdom, not because He wanted Paul to cause crisis among his people, but because Paul had an unfinished business for the sake of the gospel.
Paul had not yet testified to the Master on the biggest stage of all: in the city of Rome! The testimony of this great Apostle would be incomplete if he failed to go to Rome. His hour to pay the supreme price had not come. That hour would come in Rome when he would be beheaded for the sake of the gospel.
The believers in Jesus have it as their vocation to bear witness to the Master. The Lord Himself had prayed for those who would come to believe in Him. He prayed that they be one. He prayed that they would be wherever He was to behold the glory that the Father had given Him in His love for Him before the foundation of the world.
The Apostle Paul loved His Master till the end. St. Justin loved His Master till the end. Both died as Martyrs, witnessing with their blood to the truth of Jesus Christ. St. Justin, after his conversion, gave himself fully into teaching the faith. He was a highly educated and learned man who put his talents at the service of the gospel. He opened a catechetical school in Rome. He wrote brilliant works in defense of the Christian faith. He died just the same way he lived his life!
At the beginning of this new month, we have before us the examples of the great Apostle Paul and the indomitable spirit of the Martyr St. Justin. Both of them challenge us to understand that no sacrifice us too great to make for the spread of the gospel. Their lives give us examples on the primacy of love for the Master that propels the true disciple to accept all sufferings, maltreatments and even the loss of life. May the intercede for us.
The month of June is here. May the Lord lead us in this new month, reveal Himself to us, protect, govern, guide and guardian us, bless us in ways beyond our imaginations, grant us the grace to seek Him more keenly, follow Him more closely and love Him more dearly. May it be a month of joy, peace and success for us. Happy New Month. God's abundant blessings to all who celebrate their birthdays today and those who will celebrate their birthdays this month.
Let us pray: "O God, who through the folly of the Cross wondrously taught Saint Justin the Martyr the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, grant us, through his intercession, that having rejected deception and error, we may become steadfast in the faith." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.