Gospel Reflection – Friday, May 10, 2024 – John 16:20-23a – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 18,9-18)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

While Paul was in Corinth one night, the Lord said to him in a vision: Do not be afraid; keep talking and don’t be silent, because I am with you. No one will lay a hand on you to harm you. In this city there are a large number of people who belong to me.” So Paul stayed among them for a year and a half, teaching them the Word of God. At the time when Galião was proconsul in Achaia, the Jews rose up en masse against Paul and took him to court, saying: This man induces the people to worship God contrary to the Law.”

Paul was about to speak when Galião spoke to the Jews, saying: Jews, if it were because of a crime or a criminal action, it would be fair for me to respond to your complaint. But, as it is a matter of words, names and your Law, deal with it yourselves. I don’t want to be a judge on these things.” And Galião ordered them to leave the court.

Then they all grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the court. And Galião didn’t even bother with it. Paul remained in Corinth for several days. Saying goodbye to his brothers, he embarked for Syria, in the company of Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea, Paul shaved his head because he had made a promise.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 16,20-23a)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into joy. The woman, when she must give birth, is distressed because her time has come; but, after the child was born, he no longer remembers the sufferings, because of the joy of a man having come into the world.

You too now feel sadness, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will be able to take your joy away from you. On that day you will not ask me anything else.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of the Lord be with you all on this blessed day. It is wonderful to be gathered here with you, as a community united by faith and love for God. Today, I want to talk about how we can find hope and comfort in the adversities of life, based on the biblical passages from the First Reading of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 18,9-18) and the Gospel according to John (John 16,20-23a).

How many times do we encounter challenges and tribulations in our daily journey! Worries, difficulties and moments of sadness can overwhelm us, making us question whether God is truly present in our lives. However, in these passages we find a message of hope that reminds us that God is always with us, even in the most difficult times.

In the First Reading, we witness the apostle Paul’s experience in Corinth. He faced opposition and persecution because of his faith. But the Lord appeared to Paul in a night vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid. Continue speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack you to harm you, for I have a large people in this city” (Acts 18 ,9-10). These words were a balm to Paul’s heart, bringing comfort and encouragement in the midst of difficulties.

Likewise, in our walk of faith, we can feel discouraged and discouraged. But God assures us that He is at our side, always ready to strengthen and guide us. He tells us: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). These words invite us to trust in God’s love and faithfulness, even when circumstances around us seem bleak.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples about the pain and sorrow they would experience before his crucifixion, but he also gives them a promise of lasting joy: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your sadness will be turned into joy” (John 16:20). These words of Jesus may seem paradoxical at first glance, but they reveal a profound truth: through suffering and pain, we are purified and can experience greater joy than we ever imagined.

Imagine, for a moment, a seed that is planted in the darkness of the earth. It is covered by earth, and for a time, it appears to be lost and buried. However, as the seed absorbs water and nutrients from the soil, it begins to sprout. Its roots go deep and its stem rises toward the sunlight. Eventually, that tiny seed grows into a majestic tree, which provides shade, fruit, and shelter to many.

Just like the seed, we are called to find hope and comfort even in the midst of life’s darkness and difficulties. Suffering can be transformative, shaping us and making us more resilient. It is through struggles that we learn to trust God more deeply and depend completely on Him. It’s when we feel lost and buried that God begins to work in us, nourishing us with his grace and love.

Dear brothers and sisters, in our own lives we can identify those moments of darkness and suffering that challenge us. It could be the loss of a loved one, a debilitating illness, financial problems or strained relationships. But, when we face these difficulties with faith and trust in God, He strengthens us and guides us to a renewed life.

Allow me to share a story that illustrates this truth. There was a woman named Maria who went through a series of losses and challenges in her life. She lost her job, faced health problems and had broken relationships. Maria felt lost and desperate, questioning her purpose in life. Yet in the midst of her pain, she found comfort and hope in the words of Jesus: “Your sorrow will turn into joy.”

Mary decided to give her worries to God and trust that He had a plan for her life. She turned to her faith community for support and found strength in her prayers. Over time, Maria began to experience an inner transformation. Her sadness gave way to hope and her pain was replaced by a deep peace. She discovered a new purpose in serving others and found joy in sharing God’s love with those around her.

Dear brothers and sisters, like Mary, we can find comfort and hope in the words of Jesus. When we turn to Him in the midst of our struggles, He strengthens us and fills us with a joy that the world cannot give us. But make no mistake, finding this joy doesn’t mean our problems will magically disappear. On the contrary, it means that we can face our difficulties with courage and confidence, knowing that God is with us every step of the way.

As we reflect on these biblical passages and the stories shared, it is important to remember that faith is not just an intellectual belief, but also a call to action. God invites us to take his message of hope and love to the world, through our words and actions. He calls us to be light in the midst of darkness and to bring comfort to those suffering around us.

So what can we do to live these truths in our daily lives? First, we must cultivate a personal relationship with God through prayer, reading the Word, and the sacraments. It is through these means of grace that we become spiritually strengthened and connect with God’s love.

Furthermore, we must be sensitive to the needs of others and look for practical ways to help. We can visit the sick, feed the hungry, comfort the grieving, and listen to those who need someone to share their hardships. Small acts of kindness can have a lasting impact on the lives of those we encounter.

Dear brothers and sisters, today, we are invited to embrace the hope that comes from God, even in the midst of the tribulations we face. May we remember that He is always with us, strengthening us and guiding us every step of the way. May our faith be a shining light in the midst of darkness, bringing hope, comfort and love to those around us.

May the Holy Spirit enable us to live in accordance with these truths so that we can be living witnesses of God’s love and grace. May our example inspire others to seek the hope that can only be found in Christ.

May God bless you all and guide you on your journey of faith. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.