Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a)
The old priest died the other day. After being last seen resting, he was found on the floor without life signs. Some say that he had the best death possible – without suffering or myriad hospital procedures. But this point is debatable. Both readings today show another way to die.
Paul feels compelled by the Spirit to return to Jerusalem. He senses that his end is near. On the journey he stops at the port of Miletus and sends for the church workers in Ephesus to meet him. Then he begins his farewell address. In today’s reading he reviews his ministry on behalf of Christ. In tomorrow’s he will give the ministers advice regarding how to care for the people. In both readings his care for them is evident.
In the gospel Jesus has been proclaiming his love and instructing for his disciples throughout the long final discourse. Today he begins the conclusion of his remarks with a prayer to God the Father. He calls the disciples “the ones…given me” as a way of indicating his affection. He also directly prays for them.
No one can enjoy suffering. But we should not always run from it. Through suffering we can draw closer to Jesus on the cross. It even allows us to share in his work of redemption. Suffering in the dying process may also afford us opportunity to confirm our love for those who mean the most to us. Like both Paul and Jesus we want to take full advantage of it.