Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
May 23, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we listen to both Jesus and Paul as they offer their farewell addresses to their beloved disciples.
It seems an appropriate time for these readings here as students close their educational years and move on to their future. The disciples of Jesus and Paul are doing the same thing. And their valedictorians are the beloved masters on whom they have come to depend.
Paul and his disciples share a tearful good-bye as he departs for Rome
In Acts, Paul prepares to depart from Ephesus where he has lived for three years. It is his cherished community as we can assess from the beautiful letters Paul writes to the Church there. The disciples are heartbroken to see Paul leave, and he is quite emotional himself in his remarks:
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…
But now I know that none of youActs 20
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.
Paul, declaring that he has done all that he can for the Gospel, sternly charges his followers to carry on the work of evangelization.
Jesus is a little gentler but no less dramatic in describing the charge to his disciples:
I pray for them.John 17
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
Both these readings speak to us, not only about the disciples’ experience of commissioning, but of our own. Our Baptismal incorporation into the faith came with a price tag — “Carry on the Gospel in your life.”
As we listen to the passion with which both Jesus and Paul advised their followers, let’s hear them speaking to us as well. Let’s listen for the unique call we are receiving through the circumstances of our particular life. Not everyone is called to be Paul, or Peter, or Lydia, or Apollos, or Silas or the others we have read about throughout Eastertide.
But we ARE called to be
(Fill in your name)
a believer and doer in the Name of Jesus Christ
Poem: by Hafiz from Love Poems from God – Daniel Ladinsky
I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through— listen to this music.
Music: By Faith – Keith and Kristyn Getty