Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts28,16-20,30-31; Resp. Psalm: Ps11,4,5,7; Gosp. Accl.: Jn16,7,13; Gospel: Jn21,20-25
St. Paul had testified to His Master in every place but one: in Rome, the most cosmopolitan city at that time, the city of roman Emperors who ascribed divinity to themselves. It was clear in the divine plan of God that Rome had to feature in the witnessing activities of this great Apostle. Rome itself was ripe for spiritual battle and conquest. Rome was in need of Christ.
From the scriptures and knowledge of Roman Law, it was clear that Paul did nothing condemnable to have been chained down like a hardened criminal and put in prison or under house arrest. His only sin was that he believed in Jesus and preached that His death brought about salvation. For this, the Jews wanted him killed. But as a Jew who had dual citizenship, Jewish and Roman, the Jews could not alone pass judgment and sentence him to death. They needed the approval of the Romans.
St. Paul used that clause in Roman law to appeal his sentence before Caesar and the period of waiting in Rome gave him the opportunity to preach Christ and win souls for Him. The word of God says "and he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered."
Paul followed his Master till the end. This exactly was what our Lord told Peter today when Peter wanted to know our Lord's plans for John the beloved disciple. Our Lord said what was important was not to know what plans He had for who at what time and under what circumstance. What was important was to follow Him. That should be the preoccupation of all believers in Him: to follow their Master daily in everything and in all circumstances.
St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, the holy Martyrs of Uganda, understood what it meant to follow Christ in a radical way. They preferred death to disobeying God. They gave their lives for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church sings their praises today for their heroic deeds. May they intercede for us.
Today is the penultimate day of the Easter Season. Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit. God has been good to us by feeding us with His word all through Lent and these fifty days of the Easter season. May He continue to inspire us with His word, confirm it with His presence and grant us the grace to follow Him closely and love Him dearly.
"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in us the fire of your love, send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and we shall renew the fave of the earth." "O God who by the light of the Holy Spirit didst instruct the hearts of your faithful, grant that by the gifts of the same Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen"
Let us pray: "Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we who have celebrated the paschal festivities may by your gift hold fast to them in the way that we live our lives." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Have a blessed Pentecost weekend.