May 13, Saturday of the 5th Week of Easter
Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Daily Reading: Acts 16:1-10; Gospel: John 15:18-21
How many times did we, the believers, realize and recognize that God has His ways? The ones who realize this can surrender to God and enjoy their lives, while those who do not keep fighting against God and themselves lose the battle in vain. St. Paul’s First Missionary Journey is a great example for every Christian believer and community of believers. The Gentiles rejoiced. His travel companion, Mark, was abandoned. Jews were hated and persecuted. Barnabas refused to join the Second Missionary Journey. But life continued, and Paul never turned back, losing hope.
The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles narrates a few events of the Second Missionary Journey of St. Paul. It introduces a significant personality, Timothy, the son of a Jewess believer whose husband was a Greek. Being sensitive to the place and people, Paul duly circumcised Timothy, although he never, in principle, believed in the imperative of circumcision. V. 5 says, “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.” It is not only the quantity of believers that is more important but also the quality of their faith. The pericope highlights that a human person proposes, but God disposes. It is God’s will that will always prevail. The apostles want to go to Bithynia in Asia Minor, but the Spirit of Jesus wants them to go to Northern Greece, namely Macedonia. It is revealed through a vision. They are convinced that it is God who leads and guides them.
The Gospel Reading from St. John reveals the mind of Jesus in the context of his farewell. He prepares the apostles for the forthcoming persecutions. Since the world hates and persecutes Jesus, the apostles should expect the same or even more. There is tension between the earth and heaven, between the worldly and the heavenly. The world loves the worldly and hates the heavenly. Jesus and his disciples are heavenly, and therefore they are hated. And yet, we have to understand that the disciples are called from the world and out of the world.
Consequently, they are no longer worldly and do not belong to the world. Here arises an existential problem! God’s people, including numerous chosen women and men, often find themselves between the spiritual and worldly realms. Their inability to overcome their worldly affairs ruins their personal and community lives. Their lives duly become contradictory, and a counter-witness.
May 13 reminds us of Our Lady’s first apparition in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, to the three shepherd children who are saints today. It is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. We are taught to pray the Holy Rosary for the world's conversion and to end the war. The war is still going on in many and various ways. The need to pray remains!
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