SATURDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER - MASS IN THE MORNING
Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind. The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and his soul hates the lover of violence. On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur; a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
In the gospel today, John tells us that the world could not contain the books telling of everything Jesus did. In the first reading, Paul stays in house arrest for two years but proclaims the kingdom of God and teaches to whoever comes to him. The psalmist declares how God is on his throne and his gaze beholds mankind. He knows who is righteous and wicked. He hates the lover of violence and promises that the upright will behold his face.
How is it that St. Paul could stay “arrested” for two years awaiting trial and still proclaim the message of the good news? How did he not lose hope or become discouraged, limited, or feel like he had lost? He was not traveling about, but was imprisoned in his own own, living off his own expense. Yet, he brought the kingdom of God to all who came to him. He could do this because he knew Jesus. He knew the goodness of God. No matter what happened to him, he was so confident in the Lord that he could still teach others of his goodness.
As John says in his gospel, there is so much to God that we do not know. There are countless deeds Jesus did while he walked on the earth and so many things he said, the world cannot contain it. This gives us confidence and trust in Jesus. When we do not have the full picture, we can trust in the Lord. Even when we suffer trials or find ourselves in positions we don’t want to be in, even positions where we are powerless at the mercy of others, we can still trust in God’s power and goodness. Like Jesus called Peter in the gospel, we do not need to know everything. Yet, we can have confidence in Jesus and bring the truth of his goodness to others.
Today, remember the words of the psalmist and the gospel. God is on his throne. He sees all mankind and is vast and eternal. The depths of God’s power and goodness cannot be known to us. Therefore, we can trust him with everything. No matter what you are facing today, what sufferings or uncertainty, know that God is all powerful and all good. He is worthy of being praised and trusted. Give him your heart, your gratitude, and loyalty.