Date: May 16, 2020 (Easter)
Bible Text: First Reading: ACTS 16:1-10; Gospel: JN 15:18-21 | Fr. Roniel Duenas
Series: Scripture Reflections
As Paul in his time with all his strength tried to find ways to “proclaim the good news”; we in our time as well try to find ways to “encounter the good news.”
Apparently, the reason why Paul and his companions were prevented by the Holy Spirit from entering some places, in the course of their missionary journey, was to keep them away from trouble. Perhaps, the Lord would still want Paul to visit some more places before he would meet his martyrdom. Bringing Jesus was not an easy business. Besides rejection, Christians were also persecuted. But Jesus had already told us: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”
Here in our place, we have surpassed already those periods of persecution and rejection but we know that the scourge of the devil is relentless. In recent times, the world is plagued with a deadly disease prompting even our churches to close down. Again, the truth is: there’s no easy way to follow the Lord. The devil is always finding ways to keep us away from His company.
But being his disciples, we never run out of enthusiasm to seek and find the Lord. As Paul in his time, with all his strength, tried to find ways to proclaim the good news; we, in our time as well, try to find ways to encounter the good news - to rather see hope and goodness amidst this uncertainty and fear. Today’s Alleluia verse is taken from the letter to the Colossians, where Paul encourages us: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” In difficult times, be it persecution or pandemic, we seek none other but the Lord and His consolation. On the very feast day of the Our Lady of Fatima, the Philippines recorded 149 recoveries from COVID, the highest number of recoveries so far since the pandemic reached the country. I am grateful too because I was also praying for my uncle and his family here in the US who got infected with COVID. In God’s goodness, all of them recovered, he being the last to recover from the worst situation.
Again, in times of crisis, we don’t need to go somewhere. We rather stay close to Mama Mary and Jesus with our eyes intently fixed on the certainty of God’s providence and help.