7th SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR A
(Acts 1:12-14; Psalm 26(27); 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11)
Theme: Suffering For A Glorious Day
My brothers and sisters, in the second reading St Peter notes that for the sake of Christ, it is a blessing to be insulted, abused, mocked, or assaulted. But, is suffering for Christ, or to hold back in the face of mockery, name-calling, and blackmail, a piece of cake? How easy is it to pass in silence when someone organizes covert meetings for your downfall?
Although it is not easy to endure for Christ’s sake, we are not exempt from suffering because we live in a troubled world inundated with problems and worries. Hence, we long for a new earth and heaven wherein there is no harm nor destruction (Isaiah 11:9). The fact is, as Jesus notes in John 17:16, we are not of this world hence we hope for a home of rest. Thus, like the Psalmist, we long to live in the house of the Lord, to savour His sweetness and to behold his temple.
But while we wait for our hour of glorification, it is important we embrace the words of Jesus in John 17:20 that we will weep and wail while the world rejoices, and we will grieve, but our grief would turn to joy. Thus, before we are consumed by joy, we must declare that we live for Christ, and that we are ready and willing to die for Christ (Philippians 1:21). St Augustine notes that the wicked exists in this world either to be converted or that through them the good may exercise patience. Thus, Romans 5:3 says, “We rejoice in suffering because it produces perseverance.”
But the exercise of patience, endurance, or love in the face of suffering, and upholding of one’s sanity on the path that leads to our points of glorification, demands an alignment of our hearts with the Heart of God in and through prayer. There is no one to whom we could turn but God. Psalm 121:2f says “I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” As He prepared Himself and His disciples for the trials ahead of Him, Jesus called on the Father in today’s gospel to glorify Him; we must also call on the Lord when troubles overwhelm us.
We must ask for the grace of Fortitude that comes with patience and perseverance; hence, we are able to endure suffering without being defeated or sorrowful. Thus, we must glorify God not only by proclaiming Jesus as our redeemer, but also by becoming instruments of a greater tomorrow.