Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest
First Reading: Acts 20:17-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
Gospel: John 17:1-11
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardship await me. Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace. (Acts 20:22-24)
How many of you would knowingly walk into a bears cave? Or how many of us would just stroll on into a gang's area and tell them that they are doing wrong? How many of us would run into a burning building to save a stranger who was trapped in there? The fact is that all of us have a fear and an apprehension of putting ourselves into dangerous situations. This is typical of all of us, because we each believe that if we put ourselves in dangerous and risky situations that we can lose our lives. We think about our loved ones and all those people that we would not see again. We tend to place an importance on our own lives, and the importance that we put on our lives can really determine how much we are or are not willing to take chances and risks.
I do not think that we realize how much we let the things of this world dictate the things that we do. In today's first reading, Saint Paul knows that by going to Jerusalem he is going to face a difficult situation and most likely lose his life. He knows that he will not see the faces of those that he loves and cares about again. He unknowingly goes forward to Jerusalem, not fully knowing what is going to happen, but he goes with complete obedience and trust in God. Saint Paul makes it a point to tell people that "I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus." Saint Paul realizes that it is not our lives that are important, but instead doing the work that the Lord calls us to do. He knows and understands that we cannot hold back anything when it comes to God, we must give of ourselves totally, even when that leads us to things and places that are uncomfortable even scary for us.
By his words and his actions, Saint Paul truly shows us what it means to put God first. It means that we are not concerned about our own interests or even our own lives, but rather the work that God calls us to. May we all be blessed with the strength and courage to follow God no matter where that leads us.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, we thank you and give you praise for all that we have and all that we can do. Lord Jesus, help us to cast away any fears and doubts that we have and to follow you with all our heart, soul mind and strength. Lord we love you and only wish to serve you as we are called. Help us to know your will in our lives and to do what is please to you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.