Sometimes we can get our priorities a bit out of whack, wouldn’t you say? I’m sure there was a time in St. Paul’s life when that was true. But in today’s first reading from Acts 20, he talks about what is really important. More on that 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.
Saul/Paul led an amazing life. He was well educated, respected, and moving up in the ranks of the Jews before his conversion. One may rightly think that he had done pretty darn well in life. And after his conversion he had seen and probably performed many miracles. He had led thousands to the faith. So is it puzzling to hear his words to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus? “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.”
No surprise at all, really. 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. Raise your children (if you have them) in the ways of the Lord. 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.