Interesting title for today’s reflection, eh? I can hear it now…”Gus, what’s happened to you?? Are you no longer pro-life?” But those words about the unimportance of life are not mine, they are St. Paul’s. That’s right, we see them in today’s first reading from Acts 20. More in a moment. For the Gospel today, we’re back in John 17, listening in as Jesus speaks to the Father at the Last Supper. He praises the Father for giving him the disciples who have kept his word.
“Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” These words of St. Paul really underscore to me what is really important. So often we think that such trivial things are important. Or, worse yet, we see ourselves as important – the be all and the end all. Such nonsense.
As I write this reflection, I am sitting in a Hospice House, awaiting my sister to take her last breath. Cancer has ravaged her body. At this point she can no longer communicate, save for occasional moans and groans. As I watch her, I wonder what her final thoughts were. I was blessed to have spent the last few months of her life with her in my home. We had some very special conversations about life and death. I can assure you that, in the end, accomplishing God’s will is what really matters. I believe this is exactly what St. Paul means. Because life outside of the mission that Christ has given each of us to accomplish is really meaningless. Everything else is just fluff. So it brings up a question today. If you knew that your life was going to end soon, what would you do? Would you try your hardest to “finish the course and the ministry that you received from the Lord Jesus?” I hope so. What is this ministry? Well, I can’t answer that for you specifically, but I think there are some common denominators. Tell those you love that you love them. Share with others how good God has been to you. Smile more. Hug often. These are the things that, as St. Paul says, “bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.”
Father, teach us what life is really about. Give us the grace to finish the course and ministry that we received from the Lord Jesus. Help us to be witnesses of your grace. Amen.