Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them.
Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Paul’s call that others protect and care for the flock he leaves behind in Miletus echoes the prayer of Jesus that those given him by the Father be guarded and not lost. Am I being vigilant in preserving and learning more about my faith and encouraging others as they do the same? Or, does the guise of open-mindedness, a laissez-faire attitude, and tolerance, cover apathy on my part toward the welfare of others and my own welfare?
In so many areas of our lives we face tough questions and the urge is to bury one’s head in the sand rather than face them. So what if a large percentage of high school students don’t graduate? It is their choice. So what if children are born in poverty, with single parenthood being a contributing factor? I can’t tell people how to live.
So what if my brother is an alcoholic? It’s his decision whether he stops or not. In matters of faith we face equally vexing questions: How do I get my children to care about religion? What do I do when my faith is at odds with what my government does? Am I following Christ when I am following my church? We ask God for help in sorting through what our intellect, knowledge, understanding and will provide, and we rely on the counsel of others whom we trust. We also examine our motivations, biases, blind spots, attachments, and vices or virtues in our action or inaction. We have faith that God moves us to hope and life and not despair and death in difficulties that we face.
Care today for someone who might otherwise be forgotten.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J. is Associate Novice Director at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Paul, MN. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, in so many areas of our lives we face tough questions. Grant us courage and wisdom to listen with openness and to act with compassion and justice. If there are questions we need to face and if there are people we need to engage, help us to move forward with selfless motives.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!