2nd Week of Advent (Friday, 14th December 2018)
The Feast of St. John of the Cross
First Reading: Is 43: 1-5 or Is 48: 17-19 (I teach you what is best)
Second Reading: 1 Cor 2: 1-10
Gospel: Jn 17: 11, 17-26 or Mt 11: 16-19 (A friend of sinners)
We are so used to sing a hymn, “Great things happen when God mixes with us”. It is not mere a rhyme or just a song but this is what people experienced from the hands of God who restored the Israelites and gave them protection. God totally owns us as Jesus says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are fine” (Is 43:1). God is with the believers and His faithful at all times. To him who believes in God, there is nothing to be afraid. It is what Jesus promises to those who follow Him, as he says, “…they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mk 16:18). The Prophet Isaiah exhorts us to seek the companionship of God who shall dispel all fear of darkness and evil from our minds provided we remain witness to His righteousness and love and do not burden Him with our sins.
The second reading reminds us of our disposition and call. Although St. Paul preached far and wide, he always kept himself holy and lowly after the example of Christ Himself. He says, “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration for the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2: 3-4). His mission was for a single purpose i.e., your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Cor 2:5). St. Paul, in a way, exhorts us to remain faithful to our Lord. He advises us to reflect God’s nature in all that we are, we say or we do. For our origin is in God. it is God who chose us. He chose us consciously and not by chance. So, he owns us to. Isaiah in today’s reading mentions of it saying, “I have called you by name, you are mine”. So, our existence and our life is because of Him. This is what St. Paul would say, “For in Him, we live and move and have our being (AA 17:28).
Today’s gospel contains Jesus’ prayer for His disciples. This takes place before His passion begins. He prays for His disciples. This passage indicates the necessity of unity among the disciples as well as the purity of body and mind necessary to glorify the Heavenly Father. He desires that we remain set apart for him. We can remain so provided we remain set apart from sin and all evils.
These readings of today become much significant in the light of life of St. John of the Cross whose feast we are celebrating today. He is a person who at the insistence of St. Teresa of Avila led a new movement in the Carmelite order. He set before all an example of wisdom and sanctity. His writings, as we read in today’s office of readings show that he had deep mystical relationship with Christ, His quest for God’s grace and love was unending because he believed that the love of Christ is like a mine with treasures in many pockets without end or limit. By his life, he invites us to realise God’s eternal love for us. By his life, he invites us to realise God’s eternal love for us. We will taste this unconditional and everlasting love if we remain faithful to Him in both sorrows and joy. We need to pray to Him unceasingly as He alone can save us and His grace will make us His ‘Segullah’ the most treasured possession. For all of us are His. Amen.