Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from SVD Bible Diary
2002 There are three things about Jesus which this passage makes clear:
There is the loneliness of Jesus. He was to be left alone by His disciples. And yet He was never alone because he still had God. No person ever stands alone for the right; he always stands with God. No good man is ever completely forsaken, for he is never forsaken by God.
There is the forgiveness of Jesus. He knew that His friends would abandon Him, yet at the moment He did not hold it against them. He loved men and women in all their weakness; He loved them as they were. Love must be clear-sighted. If we idolize a person as he really is.
There is the gift of Jesus, courage and conquest. Very soon something was going to be unanswerably proven to the disciples. They were going to see that the world can do its worst to Jesus and still not defeat Him. And He says, “”The victory which I will win can be your victory too. The world did its worst to me and I emerged victorious. Life can do its worst to you and you too can emerge victorious. You too can possess the courage and the conquest of the cross.” He added, “In the world you will have tribulation. But courage! I have conquered the world.” Jesus knew His disciples at their worst and still trusted and loved them. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
2004 The disciples believe because they experience Jesus speaking with authority, Jesus, however, challenges this professed faith. he warns them that when they will see Him in His passion and death, they will be scandalized and will scatter. They will abandon Him.
It is quite common to hear expressions like: “Ang bait talaga ng Dios!” or “Lord, talagang naniniwala ako sa iyo!” when good things come our way. We pass our final exams. We win in a game of chance. We land a job. We recover from sickness. Mabait ang Dios!” how about when things go wrong?
Jesus invites us to be wholly united with Him. To make His faith our own. A faith that goes the way of the cross; A faith that knows the loneliness of total abandonment. It is the faith that “believes in the sun even when it is not shining,” one that shines in the darkest of night because it knows that there is no darkness that the love of God cannot penetrate. It is the very same faith that leads Paul to exclaim: “Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!”
One of my favorite poetry pieces from High school whose I cannot recall goes this way:
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
of splendor in the grass, of glory in flow’r
we will grieve not, rather find
strength in what remains behind.
In the primal sympathy which having
been must ever be,
in the soothing thoughts that spring
out of human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death.
In years that bring the philosophic mind.”
Yes, Lord help us grow in the faith that look through death and see…an Easter morn. (Sr. Lou-Anne, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)
2007 In ordinary conversation we do not understand what we hear. We let it pass. Our Lord wanted that, in his talks, He would be properly understood. That is why He used simple language and parable. He spoke “in metaphors,” “in veiled languages;” even then His disciples could not always follow Him. This time, they admitted, “he was talking plainly and not in any figure of speech.” They believe that truly Jesus came from God.
It is in the nature of belief that we do not need to know all in order to believe. In today’s gospel, it is the Lord who knew and they believed in Him. The disciples understood the veiled language, though not fully. With this knowledge they had basis enough to believe without going against reason.
Our Lord understands human psychology and respects human freedom. Our assent to His word is in no way forced against our will. It is free, reasonable and total.
That doesn’t mean that the disciples or we for that matter are in complete control of ourselves. How often we say yes and yes again to the Lord. How often we have disappointed Him. He warns, the time will come when “you will leave me alone.” But the Father will be with Him. Neither will ourselves be alone. You will have peace He assures us, “I have conquered the world.” God never abandons us, saints or sinners we might be. He takes us as we are with all our concerns and weaknesses. When it comes to loving and forgiving He does not used veiled language. God has loved us with an everlasting love, a love that initiates from Him, a love that does not discriminate. (Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
2008 Once upon a time there was a politician who proclaimed himself pro-poor (“para sa mahirap”) as he went campaigning around the country. The impoverished citizens, enthralled and captivated by his catching battle cry, believed in him. They gave their intellectual assent to what that politician said and voted him into the highest public office of the land, sure enough, he got elected. But did he deliver the goods? The rest is history.
Faith is not in a statement but in a person. Faith is not just the intellectual assent to what another said. It is rather our commitment to the one who said it. The Jews were compelled by sheer reason to accept that there was nothing illogical in what Jesus said and taught….but that is not yet faith. so when they said that they now believed in Him, the Lord told them that the time will come “when you will be scattered…and you will leave me alone.”
Let us ask ourselves if we really believe in God. If we give a positive answer to that question, we go a step further and ask who God is in our life. Is He the Creator and Father whom we remember and think of once a week during the 40-minute Eucharistic sacrifice? Or is God the Father to whom we commit ourselves, the God in whom we live and move and have our being? Is He the God to whom we offer our love because He loves us even before we could love Him? (Fr. Ernie Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2008)
2009 There is this story about an alcoholic, playboy and gambler (alak-babae-sugal in Tagalog parlance) who figured in a serious vehicular accident one night on his way home. With severe head and body injuries and almost unconscious behind the wheel, he saw these big, boldvehicular accident one night on his way home. With severe head and body injuries and almost unconscious behind the wheel, he saw these big, bold and well-lighted letters – HELL. He knew he was by the gate of Hell. Crying profusely he shouted in prayer to God saying, “Lord, I am not ready to enter the place. Give me another chance and I will change my kind of life!” shortly afterwards, he passed out. The rescuers came, pulled him out of his almost totally wrecked car and he was brought to the hospital. He survived the ordeal, remembered what he prayed to God and once out of the hospital, he turned a new page in his life. What he didn’t know was that the place where the accident happened was by a gasoline station. From his vantage point inside the car before he was rescued, the letter “S” was fully blocked by a vacant billboard. It was “SHELL.”
In today’s gospel, the disciples were at past happy that Jesus was not anymore talking to them in veiled manner such as in his parables before. This time they found no need to question Him.
Yet even when he talked to them using figures of speech, Jesus had His own special purpose. When His disciples asked Him before, “Why do you use parables to talk to the people?” Jesus answered, “The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen but do not hear or understand. So the prophecy of Isaiah applies to them “… they will look and look, but not see, because their minds are dull and they have stopped us their ears and have closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand and they would turn to me and I would heal him,” (Matt 13:13-15).
Today there are times when the Lord still talks to us in a “veiled manner” as was the case of the alak-babae-sugal man. But he does it surely for a good and special purpose.
Reflect: Do you notice that many different ways God comes to your life? Do you recognize Him in people, places and events? Do you understand His special message for you? (Fr. Ed Foguso, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
2016 May 9, 2016 Monday
“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in me.” Life can be so stressful and troublesome, as many of us surely have realized. We see many of our brothers and sisters going around with faces lined with worry, and shoulders stooped as if laden with heavy burdens. And then we may have seen others going around smiling and cheerful, as if they had no cares in the world. But if we get to know them better, we nd out that they have also their share of problems, frustrations, and burdens. For such people, the admonition of Jesus is realized: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage…I have conquered the world.”
It is a display of complete trust in God when we lift up to Him everything that is bothering us. We trust that if he will not remove our burdens, he will give us the strength to carry them. It is the conviction that God knows what we are going through and that in the end everything will be all right. It is an act of complete surrender to God’s will when we accept all that is happening in our life. When we do this, we can begin to experience peace. It is the peace that removes all anxieties, removes all fear. Peace is also when we believe that everything is according to God’s will, and that it will all end up well. (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD | CT, Manila Bible Diary 2016)
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