At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.
But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves-I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.
After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
you will be weeping and wailing
while the world will rejoice;
you will be sorrowful,
but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers,
because her time has come;
but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering
in her joy that a man has been born into the world.
So it is with you: you are sad now,
but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy,
and that joy no one shall take from you.
When that day comes,
you will not ask me any questions.’
You are sad now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and that joy no one shall take from you.
I do not have many friends. As I grew older, I culled down my list of friends. Simply because I have less time to socialize and therefore want time spent with people to be special and meaningful. The few friendships I have today are deeper and more significant. Friends who walk with me in faith and the journey of life. Relationships mean a lot to me. As the saying goes ‘If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.’ So when a relationship ends or when I have to say ‘goodbye’, I take it badly. And if that person meant a lot to me, I’d quietly (but painfully) ‘wait’ for their return. And if or when they do come back, oh my heart bursts with joy!
If I had lived in the time when Jesus told the disciples the impact his death would have on them, I would have just died of a broken heart. “I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing… you will be sorrowful.” Jesus knew his disciples would experience great sorrow when he was taken away from them in death. However, he assures them that the sorrow will be but for a while. These feelings will not be forever. He assures them that his death and rising will spring forth a new life, sorrows and pain will turn into joy.
As I was reading the verses for today’s reflection, a line caught my attention in today’s Magnificat. In order to reach our destination in Christ, we inevitably pass through dark moments. But our sadness is transformed if we look towards the Risen Christ. I am slowly learning that my journey to holiness isn’t a rose garden. God’s pruning of me involves loss, sorrow and pain. I still struggle and fight with Jesus on this but am slowly finding the courage to let the process take its course. Because I know that these dark moments, however looming they seem now, will be so far away when the time comes – when I am transformed. My heart will be filled with joy again. Just as the pain of a pregnant woman is the prelude to the joy of new life. Brothers and sisters, be courageous, take heart and know that this too shall pass.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Jesus, we give you our sorrow, tears and pain in exchange for your comfort. Fill us with hope and joy as we look towards the Risen Lord.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the goodness and blessings in our lives. We hold and cherish in our hearts your gifts of life, breath, love and friendships.