21May 21 May, 2020. Thursday of Week 6 of Easter

St. Rita of Cascia, religious (Opt. Memorial)

1st Reading: Acts 18:1-8

The early days of Paul’s mission in Corinth, and the friends he found there

Paul then left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together – by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the officer of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized.

Responsorial: Psalm 97: 1-4

Response: The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he had worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The Lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy.

Gospel: John 16:16-20

Jesus is going to the Father, and promises to come again

Jesus said,
“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.”

Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.”


May your words, O Lord, enlighten and guide us. May they guide us through all present trials and keep us near to you.

Letting go

After St Paul left the cultured city of Athens, with its sophisticated audience, he proceeded to the seaport of Corinth, notorious as a rough and rowdy town. Here he ran into some fierce opposition from the local Jews, although a synagogue official named Crispus accepted the gospel. As more and more Corinthians became believers in Jesus, Paul turned aside from the Jews to win the gentiles. Significant changes also appear in today’s gospel. Here it speaks about Jesus’ imminent departure followed by a new kind of presence. No stage of our existence is permanent. “The world as we know it is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31).

Any major change in our circumstances can take us by surprise and threaten our security. No matter how adaptable we may think ourselves to be, it is hard to cope with danger to our health and wellbeing. St Paul gave an example of remarkable adaptability, in his travelling ministry. His urgency to spread the Gospel urged him to become “as a Greek with the Greeks, and as a Jew with the Jews.” This openness to change was there when Jesus told his disciples he must leave them. ‘You will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.’ Their grief at his absence will be real, but he taught them to wait patiently for his return. “You will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.”

A hospitable married couple helped St Paul to adapt to his new situation in Corinth. Priscilla and Aquila practiced the same trade as himself; they were tent-makers. Being also Jewish-Christians, not only did they help to keep Paul in contact with his Jewish roots, but they kept him down to earth and able to practice his trade. With them he could earn his living by his own hands.  Among working people, where everyone had to earn their own keep, Paul would broaden his ministry and gather many foreigners into the community of Jesus’ disciples.

During the Last Supper, Jesus underlined the need for trust and acceptance in the face of radical change. He talked about going away, returning to the Father and preparing a place for his friends. His talk about dying grieved his disciples; if they had their way they would make him stay. But he urges them to be glad, since he is going to the Father.

We too can find joy in his going, because in his risen life he can do much more for us than if he simply stayed on here. In going to the Father Jesus opens up eternal life for all who trust in him. Only by going away could he send the Holy Spirit. So his going brought a blessing to us all.

Sometimes the best way to show our love for others is to let them go, not trying to hold them with us but letting them go to whatever God has planned for them.

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