Gospel Reflection – Saturday, May 18, 2024 – John 21:20-25 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 28,16-20,30-31)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

When we entered Rome, Paul received permission to live in a private house, with a soldier who watched over him. Three days later, Paul summoned the leaders of the Jews. When they were gathered together, he said to them: “Brothers, I have done nothing against our people, nor against the traditions of our ancestors. However, I came from Jerusalem as a prisoner and was thus handed over to the Romans. Interrogated by them in court and there being nothing in me that deserved death, they wanted to release me. But the Jews objected, and I was obliged to appeal to Caesar, without any intention of accusing my nation. That is why I asked to see you and speak to you, because I am carrying these shackles precisely because of the hope of Israel.”

Paulo lived in a rented house for two years. He welcomed everyone who came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God. With all courage and without obstacles, he taught the things that referred to the Lord Jesus Christ.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 21,20-25)

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

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Peter turned around and saw behind him that other disciple that Jesus loved, the same one who had leaned on Jesus’ chest during supper and asked him: “Lord, who is going to hand you over?” When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus: “Lord, what will become of this one?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain until I come, what does that matter to you? You, follow me!” Then the news spread among the disciples that that disciple would not die. Jesus did not say that he would not die, but only: “If I want him to remain until I come, what does it matter to you?”

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them; and we know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things, but if they were all written down, I think there would not be room for the books that needed to be written in the world.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a question: How many times do we find ourselves yearning for answers? How often do we ask ourselves about the purpose of our journey, about the meaning of our daily experiences? It’s natural for our hearts to yearn for understanding and direction. And it is precisely at this point that the biblical passages we hear today, from Acts 28,16-20,30-31 and John 21,20-25, bring light to our lives and invite us to deep reflection.

Dear brothers and sisters, the first reading takes us to the moment when the apostle Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner. He faced countless difficulties on his missionary journey, but he never lost hope or stopped trusting in God’s purpose for his life. Paul found joy even in the most adverse circumstances. He did not allow physical chains to imprison him spiritually. Instead, he used his situation as an opportunity to spread the gospel.

This is a powerful lesson for all of us. How often do we find ourselves “trapped” in our own difficulties and challenges? How often do we allow circumstances to define our perspective and limit our ability to act? Paul teaches us that even in the prisons of life, we can find freedom in the faith and mission that God has entrusted to us.

Brothers and sisters, in our daily lives we encounter challenges that seem to hold us back. Maybe it’s an illness, a loss, a broken relationship or a financial crisis. Yet Paul’s message resonates deeply: we are not defined by our circumstances, but by God’s grace that enables us to overcome them. Like Paul, we are called to find purpose and meaning in the midst of our difficulties.

And this brings us to the Gospel of John, where we witness the interaction between Jesus and Peter. Jesus reveals to Peter that he will face challenges and suffering on his journey. Peter, curious, asks about John’s fate, to which Jesus responds: “If I want him to stay until I come, what does it matter to you? You, follow me!” (John 21,22).

These words of Jesus are a profound invitation to trust and focus on our own journey. We often encounter the danger of comparing ourselves to other people. We look at others and question why their lives seem easier, their blessings more abundant. But Jesus reminds us that each of us has a unique and individualized journey. We must not be distracted by the stories and paths of others, but rather focus on our own walk with Him.

Dear brothers and sisters, the central message of these biblical passages is clear: we are not defined by our circumstances, but by the purpose and calling that God has for each of us. Like Paul and Peter, we are called to find meaning in the midst of difficulties and to trust God’s direction for our lives.

To make this message tangible, I would like to share a story with you. There once was a young man named Gabriel, who faced a series of challenges in his life. He struggled with loneliness, uncertainty and a lack of purpose. One day, in his moment of greatest despair, Gabriel decided to go to a local church and seek answers.

There, he found a group of welcoming and loving people who invited him to be part of a faith community. Gabriel was captivated by the message of hope and purpose he found in the Scriptures and in the words of church leaders. He began to become actively involved in the life of the congregation, serving those in need and sharing his own story of overcoming.

Over time, Gabriel realized that the journey of faith is not without challenges, but it is precisely through these challenges that he found a greater purpose. He found that his own story of overcoming and his willingness to serve were powerful tools for inspiring and encouraging others who were also facing difficulties.

Dear brothers and sisters, Gabriel’s story is a powerful reminder that each of us has a unique and valuable story to tell. No matter how challenging our circumstances, God can use them to transform lives and bring hope to others. Just as Gabriel found purpose in his journey, each of us can find meaning in our own experiences.

So how can we apply these spiritual truths to our daily lives? First, we must remember that we are called to trust God, even when we face seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Just as Paul trusted God in the midst of his imprisonment, we are invited to place our lives, concerns, and challenges into the loving hands of our heavenly Father.

Second, we must remember that our faith journey is unique and personal. We should not compare ourselves to others, but rather focus on following Jesus and fulfilling the purpose He has for us. Each of us has unique gifts and talents to share, and when we are actively involved in community life and lovingly serve others, we are powerful instruments in God’s hands.

Finally, we must remember that our stories of overcoming and hope have the power to impact lives. Just as Gabriel found greater purpose in sharing his own journey, we are also called to be authentic and transparent in our relationships. When we share our struggles and victories with others, we are inviting them to connect with us on a deeper level and allowing God to use our stories to bring healing and transformation.

Dear community, today we are challenged to reflect on our own journeys of faith. Where are we encountering difficulties? Where is God calling us to trust Him and find purpose even in the midst of adversity? What stories of overcoming and hope can we share with those around us?

As we engage in this personal reflection and seek to apply these spiritual principles in our daily lives, I invite each of you to stand and say a silent prayer. Ask God for the guidance and courage to trust Him in all circumstances, to follow Jesus on your own unique journey, and to share your stories of hope and overcoming with others.

Dear brothers and sisters, divine grace, love, and hope are available to each of us. May we embrace these spiritual truths in our lives and allow them to transform us. May we find purpose in the midst of our difficulties and be instruments of hope for those around us.

May God’s blessing be upon each of you. May He enable you to live according to the teachings of Scripture, to find purpose in your journeys, and to share your stories of hope with the world.

Amen.