The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
HE GOSPEL for today is a portion of Jesus’ talk or discourse to His apostles after the Last Supper. You may recall this covers four chapters in St. John’s gospel; so it is rather long. The part about the Holy Spirit or Paraclete coming is the encouraging part. That word ‘Paraclete’ has a very special meaning. It means one who stands by you to support and help you. As far as I know, the only time it is used in the Bible is to refer to the Holy Spirit. Jesus realized that He was giving his Apostles a tremendous job to do after He left this world. They were to go through the world, preach Jesus’ message, and set up His Church.
The Paraclete’s aid: We know a few of the instructions or things that Jesus told His apostles and disciples to do after He ascended into heaven. He probably didn’t tell them the whole story because they would have been scared out of their wits. Imagine our Lord telling St. Peter that he would someday be preaching in Rome, the Capitol of the then world. Or telling Thomas that he was going to India. Thomas had probably never heard of India, or had the slightest idea of where it was or how to get there. And St. James going to Spain wasn’t necessarily a joy ride either. But that is where the Holy Spirit came in. He was with them, and He taught or inspired them as to what they were to teach and say. And (shall I say), we know the rest of the story. And yet these apostles sitting with our Lord at that last Supper, the night before our Lord died, didn’t have the slightest idea that this all was going to happen.
Reflect on our own lives: Maybe it would not be a bad idea for us—especially if we are a bit older—to reflect on our own lives, how they happened. Did our lives happen exactly as we planned? Maybe parts of them did. You may have married the person you intended…but apart from that. I wanted to become a Franciscan priest, and became one. But I certainly landed in places and assignments I never dreamed of being in. And I can say: none of them were of my own choosing. Each one had its own set of circumstances as to how it happened. Some of them were definitely the Holy Spirit at work.
The bad news: But then Jesus brings up also the bad news: viz. persecution. He tells us some will think they are doing the right thing by killing us. We haven’t suffered that kind of persecution…at least not yet. When we knew that we had a right to the Latin Mass and ceremonies, the Latin Mass wasn’t handed to us on a golden platter. We had to go through all kinds of hurdles or ‘non-sense’ to be able to have it. Some would still take it away from us, if they believed they could get away with it.
Being a faithful Catholic: And then if you still want to be an ordinary faithful Catholic and believe and act like Catholics have always believed and acted, you are treated as if you’re from a different century or mentally deranged—in some places at least. These are more or less “persecution from within.” Who knows when “persecution from without” is going to be knocking at our door.
The Holy Spirit: But take heart. The Holy Spirit is going to be with us. He will not let us down. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow, next week, or next year. God gives His grace each day. We just have to show up to receive it. +
INTROIT: “Hear, Lord, my voice, for I have cried out to thee, alleluia…”