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.
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.
Today’s readings parallel each other closely. In Acts, Paul bids farewell to the Ephesians after spending three years with them, instructing and leading the community. He affirms them for their work and commissions them to continue the mission of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. He also forewarns them of the dangers that may lay ahead and commends them to God. He reminds them of his hard work and that giving is better than receiving. They show strong emotions at his leaving, hugging and kissing him farewell.
John’s Gospel (Jn 17: 11B-19) tells us of Jesus’s prayer just before his arrest. Teaching and leading the disciples for the past three years, Jesus asks his Father to continue to protect them because Jesus is returning to the Father. He proclaims that he is one with the Father and that disciples may be one with him also. He sends the disciples into the world as the Father sent him, and prays they be protected from the Evil One as Jesus consecrates himself for them.
I wonder why the disciples sit in silence hearing of this farewell and commissioning? Perhaps silence could be a good start to this day as we pray with Jesus and his desire to be one with us as we continue his mission.
—Joe Spina is a former member of the Parish Mission Team of the Archdiocese of New York as well as working in prison ministry. He trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through the Center for Spirituality and Justice in Bronx, NY.
Heavenly Father, as you sent your Son to show us the way to you, strengthen our resolve to be more like him in all we do this day. Take away our fear and replace it with a greater knowledge that you are near protecting and leading us in all we do. May the Light of Christ illumine the darkness within and heal our unbelief. Amen.
—Joe SpinaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!