In the gospel reading this morning, Jesus expresses concern lest the faith of his disciples might be shaken. He shows an awareness that suffering is likely to come their way, in the form of persecution and hostility, and suffering might be undermining of their faith in him. The words of Jesus to his disciples can speak to our experience.
Various experiences can shake our own faith.
Some personal suffering, the efforts of others to undermine our faith, the failures of people of faith whom we trusted – all of these experiences, and many others could contribute to our faith being shaken. Yet, in the gospel reading Jesus promises to send his disciples, and that includes us all, the Advocate, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, to confirm us in our faith when that faith risks being shaken to the core. The Spirit, according to the gospel reading, will help us to continue witnessing to the Lord. The Spirit will be the Lord’s strength in our weakness.
According to our first reading, the Spirit-empowered Paul to witness in Philippi. The people, to whom he gave the gospel, like the woman, Lydia, gave the gospel back to him in the form of an offer of hospitality. When we allow the Spirit to witness through us, we too will receive the gospel back from others in one shape or form. Amen.
JOHN I was elected pope in 523. The Arian King Theodoric sent him as his ambassador to Emperor Justin in Constantinople. On John’s return, he was captured by the king, who was displeased at the outcome of the embassy and cast him into prison at Ravenna where he died a few days later. As pope, he was responsible for introducing the Alexandrian computation of the date of Easter, which came to be accepted throughout the West. ST. JOHN PRAY FOR US.
Fr. John Peter