Friday, May. 22nd 2020

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Today's Mass Readings

St. Paul is the center of attention this week in the Acts of the Apostles. In this reading, he has suffered and needs encouragement. He has a vision where God tells him not to be silent and encourages him to keep preaching Christ’s message. As it turns out, he needed the encouragement, because not long after he has the vision, some Jews from the synagogue seized him and brought him to the Roman Counsel. St. Paul seems to keep getting dealt a bad hand full of misfortune. He didn’t believe in fortune, however. He knew how to rely on Christ in times of trouble and in times of abundance. He did all things through Christ who gave him strength (see Philippians, chapter 4). There is an old Latin adage that says fortis fortuna adiuvat, meaning fortune favors the strong. St. Paul would contradict that. He lived by the Lord’s promise to him sufficit tibi gratia mea, “my grace is enough for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We return to John, chapter 16, where Jesus speaks of the “hour” in which a woman gives labor and uses that as an analogy to the life of following Him. A woman bears the pain of childbirth for a time in order to come to the joy of parenthood. We groan while we don’t see Jesus, yet our joy will be complete when we see Jesus again. We will suffer and go through trials from time to time. This fact is inevitable. We can choose to see Jesus in the midst of our troubles. 

I mentioned this theme earlier in the week, and I want to add a note about encouragement. We can’t always see the grace in the midst of our troubles. We need encouragement as Paul received it today. This encouragement prepared St. Paul for the trial he was about to endure. 

Remember that Jesus said we could “ask the Father anything in my name…” Ask for encouragement that you can persevere through the hard times that come in life. Do not be afraid to ask for this grace from God. Are you willing to ask for it? Are you afraid? Why?

Reflection by Br. Matthew Marie, OSB

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