Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard about the story of two people who were saying their farewells to those who were with them, at the end of their respective ministries. The first one, from the Acts of the Apostles, related to us about the moment when St. Peter said his farewell to the elders and the faithful in the city of Ephesus in present day Turkey.
In that occasion, St. Paul through the wisdom and foresight given to him by the Holy Spirit, had known that the time was coming for him to meet his end, as he was about to face persecution from the Jewish authorities, and would have his last Apostolic journey, to the centre of the Empire, the city of Rome, where he would perform his last mission and would encounter martyrdom there.
However, despite knowing what would happen to him, and how he would suffer and be persecuted, St. Paul did not fear or become worrisome. Instead, he entrusted himself in the Lord, and spoke encouragingly to the elders of the faithful in Ephesus, by which he reminded them of the need to be faithful to the Lord, and to put their hope and trust in God Who will not abandon His faithful ones in their time of need.
St. Paul imitated the example of the Lord Jesus Himself, Who in the Gospel passage we heard today, prayed to God His Father, asking Him to be with His disciples, that is with all those whom He had called and gathered from the world. He prayed over them, that they would receive the fullness of truth which would bring them to eternal life. He entrusted all of them to God, and therefore, they belong to God, through Jesus.
Jesus showed all of His disciples, that the Lord will always be with them, and He will never abandon them, no matter how challenging the troubles and opposition that would be facing them. And the ultimate proof of that assurance, is Christ Himself, Whom the Father sent into this world, because of His love for each and every one of us. He is always ever faithful, and His words reliable.
Why is that so? Let us remember that in order to save us, God did not spare anything less than giving His own self, His own Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. And He loved us so much, and is so faithful to the Covenant that He had established with us, that He was obedient unto death, the most painful and sorrowful death on the cross. That is just how much God loved each and every one of us.
How can we, as Christians, then not be in love with God? How can we not trust in Him? But the reality says otherwise, brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of us are so worried about this life and all the things we covet and desire, for wealth, for prestige, for honour, for worldly glory and human praise, for pleasures of the flesh and body, and for many other things of worldly nature, that we do not trust in God, Who truly knows what we really need.
Instead, we ended up putting our trust in many things that distract us from our true focus, that is God. We idolise many things that become distraction for us, as some of us idolise money, and put it as more important than everything else in our life, including even God. Some of us will do everything in order to gain fame and prestige, regardless of the futility of such pursuits.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us as Christians are called to remember the memory of St. Paul, his faith and dedication to the good works which he performed for the Lord and for His Church. And we recall the great trust and faith which he had in the Lord, without which he could not have done all the things he had done, all the missionary works he had undertaken and more.
And we remember the great trust and love which Our Lord Jesus Himself had shown us, in His close relationship with His Father. All of us are called to imitate these good examples, and indeed, we should begin from ourselves, at this very moment, if we have not done so. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all devote ourselves anew to the Lord, and let us all seek to be ever more committed and faithful to God, each and every days of our life. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.