Readings for Friday May 29, 2009
First Reading: Acts 25:13-21
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103
Gospel: John 21:15-19
So when they came together here, I made no delay; the next day I took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. His accusers stood around him, but did not charge him with any of the crimes I suspected. Instead they had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul claimed was alive. Since I was at a loss how to investigate this controversy, I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these charges. And when Paul appealed that he be held in custody for the Emperor's decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar." (Acts 25:17-21)
It seems that when Festus was brought Paul's case and heard it, he was baffled at how to judge it. It wasn't something that he had expected, he had though that Paul perhaps had stole something, or killed someone or some other crime of which he was familiar. Festus had no idea that what he was in the middle of would be a source of controversy for many years to come. It seems as though Jesus will always be a source of controversy for people. For the Jews today He is nothing more than a prophet. For other religions, Jesus was simply a great teacher. Even amongst Christians today Jesus becomes a source of controversy, only the question isn't whether to follow Him or not, but rather how. It is so sad that we let our own pride and opinions come in the way of seeing what Jesus really came to do, and that was to unite humanity, not divide.
However, Jesus in His wisdom knew that He would be the source of controversy (and not just in His time) and a cause of division. He knew that those who followed Him would come under fire, not just from the culture and social norms of the time; but even from those closest to us, our family and friends. I can personally attest that since my conversion, there has been much strife and conflicts within my family, but I know that in the end that I am choosing the right side, and that is the side of Jesus. Today's readings ask us the same question that Jesus asked Peter in today's gospel, "Do you love me?" We must ask ourselves this constantly, and remember that because of our love for Christ we choose Him and His will in all things. Because of our love for Him we will follow Him where ever He leads us to, even when those places are very hard and difficult.
If we choose to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength every day, then at the end of our lives we may be greeted into heaven with those wonderful words "Well done good and faithful servant!"
Father above we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we know that your will is perfect, help us to trust in you and to go where you lead us. We pray that we can choose to love you each day and to show it. Lord, help us to see and love others as you do, even those who do us wrong. Lord, we pray that we may break the thing that tie us down to this world, and rather we wish to cling to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.