The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt. - Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O (Trappist monk; American Catholic writer and mystic)
Gospel text (Jn 15,26—16,4):
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. “I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.”
We are well aware that to be a Catholic today is to “swim upstream”. When you stop to think about it, it has always been that way. Even when “everybody” was a Christian: those who really wanted to live the Catholic faith were not highly regarded by some. When abiding by Jesus Christ's law, a Catholic is a living witness of what God had planned for all men; it is the clear evidence that it is both possible to imitate Jesus Christ and to live with a man's dignity. Many, though, will not be pleased with this example, very much in the same way as Jesus displeased those who killed him. The reasons for this refusal may be several, and we have to bear in mind that, at times, our life’s testimony will be taken as an accusation.
It would not be fair to say that, because of his writings, St. John was a pessimist: he gives us a vivid description of a victorious Church and of Christ's final triumph. It cannot be said either that he did not have to go through the same suffering he describes above in today’s gospel reading from Mass. He does not hide the reality of life from us.
Always remember, the Holy Spirit is our battle partner who fights by our side. The Holy Spirit gives us the necessary strength. The Holy Spirit is the Protector, who delivers us from all danger. With The Holy Spirit by our side we should not be afraid of anything.
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