Gospel Reflection – Thursday, May 9, 2024 – John 16,16-20 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 18:1-8)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had just arrived from Italy, and his wife Priscilla, as Emperor Claudius had decreed that all Jews should leave Rome. Paulo got in touch with them. And, as they had the same profession – they were tent makers – Paulo started to live with them and they worked together. Every Sabbath, Paul argued in the synagogue, trying to convince Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul dedicated himself entirely to the Word, testifying before the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But because of their resistance and blasphemies, Paul shook off his clothes and said: You are responsible for what happens. It’s not my fault; From now on, I will address the pagans.”

So, leaving there, Paul went to the house of a pagan, a certain Titius Justus, worshiper of the only God, who lived next to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with his entire family; and many Corinthians, who listened to Paul, believed and received baptism.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (John 16,16-20)

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

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: A little while yet, and you will no longer see me. And again in a little while, and you will see me again.” Then some of his disciples said among themselves, What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me again,’ and, ‘I am going to the Father?'”

So they said: What does this little time mean? We don’t understand what he means.” Jesus understood that they wanted to question him; then he said to them, Are you arguing among yourselves because I said, ‘A little while and you will no longer see me, and a little while again and you will see me?’

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.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My brothers and sisters in Christ, peace and grace be with you!

Today, I would like to begin our reflection with a simple question, but deeply relevant to our lives: have you ever felt lost amidst the complexities and challenges of the world in which we live? Maybe you feel like a lone traveler, sailing uncharted seas, searching for answers and guidance. If so, know that you are not alone. Our spiritual journey often leads us to question, seek deeper understanding, and find a way through uncertainty.

In the biblical passages we have just heard, we find a message of hope and guidance. In the first reading, we are introduced to the apostle Paul, who is in Athens, a city known for its culture and philosophy. Paul realized that the Athenians were religious, worshiping a multitude of gods, but he also found an altar dedicated to the unknown God. He saw this as an opportunity to share the Gospel message.

Paul, with wisdom and humility, begins to speak to the people, connecting with their beliefs and everyday experiences. He uses the culture and religiosity of the Athenians to build a bridge, an opportunity to transmit the truth of the Gospel. Paul recognizes that although they do not know the true God, they have a spiritual thirst. He reminds them that it is the God who created them, who lives and breathes in each of them.

My friends, like the Athenians, we often find ourselves searching for something greater, something that gives meaning to our existence. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with conflicting information and ideas. It’s easy to feel lost, questioning our purpose and what’s true. But Paul shows us that the answer lies in our search for God, the unknown God who is present in our lives, even when we don’t realize it.

Throughout history, the Church has been called to proclaim the Gospel in different contexts and cultures. Like Paul, we are challenged to find creative ways to share the message of Jesus Christ in an ever-changing world. This requires us to connect with people where they are, using their language, their experiences, and their personal quests as a starting point.

One way to do this is through metaphors and analogies, which help us explain difficult concepts in a more understandable way. For example, Jesus, in our Gospel today, uses the metaphor of childbirth to illustrate the disciples’ experience. He compares the suffering and anguish they will face to the pain of a woman in labor. Although the pain is intense, it is temporary and gives way to lasting joy.

This powerful image reminds us that, in our own lives, we may face times of difficulty and tribulation. But just as the pain of childbirth leads to the birth of new life, our trials can lead us to spiritual growth and a renewed experience of God’s presence in our lives. Through these metaphors, Jesus invites us to find meaning and hope in the midst of our struggles.

Furthermore, it is important to relate different topics and show how they intertwine with spiritual truths. For example, we can reflect on the process of learning and growth in the context of formal education. Just as students go through different stages of learning, from basic to advanced, we also go through phases in our spiritual journey. As we grow in our understanding and relationship with God, we are called to progress in our faith, deepening our knowledge and living according to the teachings of Jesus.

And what about the stories of everyday life? They have the power to teach us profound lessons and connect us with the reality of the Gospel message. One story that comes to mind is that of the sower. Jesus told a parable about a sower who went out to sow his seeds. Some fell by the wayside, some among thorns, some on rocky ground, and some on good earth. This story reminds us of the importance of preparing our hearts to receive the Word of God and of taking care of the soil of our faith so that it can grow and bear abundant fruit.

Like the sower, we are called to sow the seeds of love, compassion and justice in our lives and our world. We must be attentive to the environment in which we live, removing obstacles that impede spiritual growth and nourishing our faith through prayer, reading the Word of God and participating in the sacraments.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we reflect on these biblical passages, it is important to remember that the Gospel message is not just an abstract theory, but a concrete reality that must transform our lives. We must ask ourselves: How do these spiritual truths apply to our everyday lives? How can we live more authentically and coherently with the teachings of Jesus?

One way to do this is through strategic repetition and reinforcement of key themes throughout our spiritual journey. Just as a teacher emphasizes certain important concepts throughout a course, we should also focus on fundamental aspects of our faith, such as the love of God, the importance of forgiveness, the call to holiness, and the hope of eternal life.

Furthermore, it is crucial that we incorporate images and visual metaphors into our reflections to make the message more vivid and memorable. Think of a simple image, like a lit candle. This image reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, and when we allow his light to shine within us, we can illuminate the darkness around us. Just as a candle shines not just for itself but to illuminate the room, we are called to radiate God’s love and kindness to those around us.

And as we engage with these spiritual truths, we are challenged to take action. We cannot simply listen to the Word of God and remain passive. We must respond to God’s call with practical action. This may mean offering support to those in need, seeking reconciliation with those we have hurt, defending justice and human dignity, or simply being a living example of God’s love in our daily interactions.

Dear brothers and sisters, as I conclude this homily, I want to remind you that we are blessed with divine grace, love, and hope. Regardless of any challenges we face, we can trust God’s constant presence in our lives. He is our faithful guide, the one who sustains us in times of difficulty and fills us with joy in times of joy.

So here is my challenge to you today: allow the Word of God to penetrate your hearts, transform your lives, and radiate through you to the world. Be agents of change, bearers of hope and witnesses of God’s love. May our faith be visible in our actions and may our lives be a living testimony of God’s transforming grace.

May the unknown God that Paul proclaimed in Athens, the Jesus who taught in metaphors and parables, be with us every step of our journey. May He guide us, strengthen us and inspire us to live as true disciples in this world. Amen.