I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me, creating me in his image and likeness, making me his temple....
Your death on the cross has set me free.
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
The Word of God
Reading 1 acts 20:17-27
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters
of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them,
"You know how I lived among you
the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility
and with the tears and trials that came to me
because of the plots of the Jews,
and I did not at all shrink from telling you
what was for your benefit,
or from teaching you in public or in your homes.
I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks
to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace.
"But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day
that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,
for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."
Responsorial Psalm ps 68:10-11, 20-21
R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
Blessed day by day be the Lord,
who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.
God is a saving God for us;
the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
Gospel jn 17:1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
"Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
"I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you."
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side, and share my feelings with him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
I am not responsible for the blood of any of you. (Acts 20:26)
Imagine being at this last meeting between St. Paul and the believers in Ephesus. He had lived and worked with them for three years, and they must have been dear to his heart. But now he had come to say good-bye. There were embraces and tears, sadness and hope. Doesn't it strike you as odd, then, that Paul would end this emotional encounter by washing his hands of responsibility for them? Doesn't it seem cold?
Maybe it would help if we looked at this story from a different angle. Given Paul's history with the Ephesians, it's not possible to imagine him just walking away. What Paul is doing here, rather, is commending them to the Lord. Looking back over his time with them, he probably saw ways he could have done better. But he didn't want these recollections to cloud his vision—or the Ephesians' vision—of God's work in their hearts. In the end, Paul was at peace with what he did and didn't do. He refused to rehearse what might have been and directed his gaze to the future instead.
What a valuable lesson for those times when we look back over our lives! We fret over how this or that situation worked out. We worry whether we did or said enough. But worrying never helps. All we can do is ask whether we were trying to say yes to God—and leave the rest to him.
Ultimately, God is the One who is in control. We can entrust our friends and families to him because we know that God cares about them. We know that he loves them and will see them through every peak and valley in their lives long after we are gone.
Is what we do important? Yes, but it isn't all up to us. God is above everything, and we can't always see what fruit will come from our words or actions. So take a lesson from St. Paul. Trust that as you are trying to be faithful to what God is asking, he will take care of the rest.
"Lord, I put my family and friends into your hands. Help me to be faithful to you and trust you to take care of them."
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21; John 17:1-11