Daily Reflection for Wednesday April 21, 2021
Peace and blessing, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First reading: Acts 8:1b-8
Responsorial: Psalm 66:1-3a,4-5, 6-7a7
Gospel: John 6:35-40
Our reflection on Wednesday’s readings:
“And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” John 6:39
Sometime ago, I attended a weekend workshop at Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana for individuals in the12-step program. The speaker for the event, a Jesuit priest in recovery, opened with a surprising statement. He proclaimed that each of us had received a great gift from God and that gift was the gift of despair.
His comment at first seemed odd to me. “Despair” a gift? But then I realized he was absolutely right. It was the facing of the despair in each of us in that room that drove us to our knees and into a willingness to admit our powerlessness over addiction and our need for God to do for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Today's readings from Acts reminds us of the despair of persecution, which tempered and molded the church into a body of faith dependent on the living Christ for meaning, purpose, and life's blood. Without the Christ, they could not have faced the terrible persecution that befell them. But out of this desperate situation, they learned that the Lord would sustain them in a life beyond what the world could ever offer.
We live in a culture that markets comfort and pleasure: pills that soothe physical pain (and cause addiction), material goods that promise happiness (and create debt), deceivers who validate our prejudices and beliefs that we are right and others are not only wrong but bad. Within this haze of deception about what really matters in life, a subtle despair develops and it is palpable… if we are still enough to listen.
How are we redeemed from such delusions that surround us? The apostle Paul asks the question, “Who will save us?” His answer was thanks be to God for sending his son who knows the depth of suffering and despair the world can produce.
Jesus was abandoned, he was betrayed and suffered terrible pain even unto death on the cross. But by the power of God, he has risen and is witness to all of us that from the depths of despair comes new life. In this Easter season, we celebrate that through our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection we are transformed as his people and none of us shall be lost.
Prayer: Lord give us the grace and the courage to face our difficulties and even our despair that we might fully learn the gift of your presence and transforming mercy in the lives we lead. Amen