Acts 19:1-8 / John 16:29-33
Jesus speaks plainly: “You will have trouble, but take courage.”
Jesus probably noticed the fear on the faces of his disciples when he told them that both they and he would have to suffer.
But this did not alarm him. Jesus knew that fear is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing, if rightly accepted.
Chuck Yaeger, the famous World War II fighter ace and great Air Force test pilot, put it this way: “You feed off fear as if it’s a high-energy candy bar. It keeps you focused and alert.”
This was also the reasoning behind Starbuck’s statement in Moby Dick, when he said that the only men he wanted in his boat were those who were afraid of whales.
When suffering and fear enter our own lives, how do we respond to them? Do we “take courage,” as Jesus said to do?
“Courage is being scared to death— but saddling up anyway.’’ Actor John Wayne (ML)
We have to admit that more often than not, we are attracted to the sensational and the spectacular as well as the dramatic. We are more inclined to be mesmerized by the fireworks than to know who invented pyrotechnics or how the development of it came about. So as we read the 1st reading, we might be more inclined to ask what speaking in tongues and prophesy are all about.
Maybe that is because we don't see these happening very often and also there is a mystery surrounding it.
And if we bother to do some research, we will come across loads of material on that subject and yet we may not be any clearer about it.
Yet to be caught up only in the sensational and spectacular and dramatic, we may miss the whole point of the 1st reading.
The point is that when the disciples were baptised the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came down on them.
Hence the speaking in tongues and prophesying are just one of the many manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
It is not so much of the "What?" but rather of the "Who?"
Today also marks the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady to the three children at Fatima in 1917, and there were six apparitions in all. In 1930, the Church declared that the apparitions at Fatima were worthy of belief.
Again it was not so much of the spectacle of the spinning sun and other dramatic happenings but the message behind it and from "Who" those messages came from. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us with the truth and lead us to a deeper understanding and knowledge of the mysteries of God. (SY)