First Reading: Acts 20:17-27
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 68
Gospel: John 17:1-11
I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. 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 hardships 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 20:19-24)
In the first reading from Acts today, we see Paul saying farewell to the disciples at Miletus. In a very bold and heartfelt speech, Paul discusses the example of his own life. He addresses the trials and challenges that he faced. He talked about his bold witness to both the Jews and the Greeks, and how he brought many people to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And now, he is off to Jerusalem, completely unaware of what will happen there, only knowing that it will be very hard and difficult. Then Paul says a line of which we should all take to heart and remember: "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." In this line, Paul is telling of how his life is not the most important thing, but rather finishing the mission to which the Lord called him to is the most important thing.
Last year I learned an important lesson in the importance of finishing what you started. It was just over a year ago when I competed in a marathon. For those not familiar, a marathon is a 26.2 mile race. It was a beautiful course and there were so many people around cheering us on, it really was a remarkable experience. But no matter how many people cheered or how great the scenery was, there was one thing that was always present ... this race was hard! Running that amount was difficult, and was certainly no easy task. I can remember there came a point where the most important thing for me was just simply to finish. That was all that was on my mind, was just persevering and finishing no matter how much I was hurting. By taking on this attitude (and with a whole lot of help from God) I was able to complete the marathon. The feeling of crossing that finish line was one of the most amazing experiences! That marathon taught me many important lessons, of which one of them is that running the race is hard, but finishing is so worth it!
Each of us should have the goal of finishing. Saint Paul gave us a great example with his earthly life. He showed us and taught us that life is hard, that we are going to experience trials and hardships; but that is okay we are not trying to be happy on earth we are trying to finish the course that God has set before each of us so that we can finish and receive the reward of eternal peace and happiness. The race is not easy, but finishing will be so worth it.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with. Thank you for all that you give and for all that you do. Help us to persevere in this life until the very end, and all for your glory. Lord, give us the courage and the strength to live in this world and not of it. Help us to fight the battles that you call us to and to be a witness to all those you put in our lives. We pray for all of our priests, that they may be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.