Christ Lives With Us On Our Journey
Thursday of Week 6 in Eastertide
Acts. 18:1-8 & Jn. 16:16-20
"When You walked at the head of Your people, O God, and lived with them on their journey, the earth shook at Your presence." These words from the Entrance Antiphon set the theme of today's Mass, referring to the Exodus from Egyptian slavery. “Lived with them on their journey” are the key words.
God's living with His people did not cease then. He is still doing it, and now we are that people. Jesus tells us in the Communion Antiphon, "I, the Lord am with you always, until the end of the world." He made that promise after His work on Earth was finished and He was about to ascend to His Father. He leaves but is still with His Church, still with each of us, His members.
Like the lsraelites in the desert we too are on a journey, on our way to the Promised Land. At times on this journey there are obstacles which may seem impossible to overcome, and we can even come close to despair just like the Israelites did in the desert. Those are the times we have to remind ourselves of Jesus' promise to be with us always.
We may doubt at weak moments but surely Jesus, by His rising from the dead, has earned our confidence and trust? He even anticipated those moments of fear about the future when He spoke to the apostles, and to us, "A little while and you will no longer see Me, and again a little while later you will see Me." He said that at the Last Supper, and when He rose from the dead they realised how right He was!
Our problem may be that we do not experience Jesus' presence as the apostles did, both during their years with Him and also during that period after His resurrection. Ours is strictly a life of faith and this is what it has to be: Christianity is a life of faith - or it is not Christianity.
Paul lived by faith in Jesus and love for Him. He was not always successful in his preaching, as we have heard in the readings from Acts during this Easter season. He tried hard to convert his fellow Jews to Christ but he received the greatest opposition from those who had become Christian yet refused to give up their attachment to the Old Law, insisting that even the Gentiles who became Christians had to observe it. Today's first reading is a typical example of that opposition. Little wonder that he shook out his garments in protest and exclaimed, "Your blood be on your own heads. I am not to blame! From now on, I will turn to the Gentiles."
Most of our trouble comes from within ourselves, our pride, our sloth, and our sins. Our Communion Prayer today fits our condition perfectly,
"Almighty and ever-living Lord,
You restored us to life by raising Christ from death.
Strengthen us by this Easter sacrament,
May we feel its saving power in our daily life."
Holy Spirit, help us on the road to the Promised Land, giving us the deepest confidence that Jesus never leaves us, that He walks at our head.