Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’
After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
no servant is greater than his master,
no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.
‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.
‘I tell you this now, before it happens,
so that when it does happen
you may believe that I am He.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’
The phrase “I told you so” is a statement which some of us may dread hearing because it indicates to us that what we have done is incorrect. It could also suggest to us that another person’s methodology was superior than us. For some of us who do not want to appear to be on the lossing end, this phrase is the last statement we want to hear.
The readings of today instruct us on the need to adhere to what Christ holds for us. This is not something which is difficult but perhaps we are unwilling to do so because it means giving up our old way of working. Jesus knows what is best for us. We need to co-operate with him to discover what it means to be in happiness in his love.
God’s plan takes time to unfold. The whole plan of salvation took hundreds of years to manifest itself as seen in the first reading. Yet God never abandoned his people and He always allowed his people to grow in faith and love for Him. Whatever the challenges we face, God will be with us on every step of our way. Let us work with God to accept the plan He has for us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to accept the plan you have for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for friends who loves
us for who we are.