Acts 20:17-27 Reflection:
We are now well into the last week of Easter and we are fast approaching the great feast of Pentecost and the readings, particularly the first readings of the Mass are all about the Holy Spirit.
In today’s first reading Paul says that, “the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.”
Filled with the knowledge of God that has been given to him by the Spirit, Paul is confident that he can face whatever the future has in store for him. The same theme comes up today in the Office of Readings where St Basil the Great says that we can know, through the action of the Spirit in our hearts, that we are in contact with God and that God is within each of us. Surely this knowledge gives us great strength.
Jesus has promised not to ‘leave us orphans’, i.e. not to leave us on our own. It is the Spirit present in our hearts that is our constant contact with God. In the reading today Paul finishes on a sad note but even in what he says we can hear the assurance of a man who knows he is right with God:
‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’
Only the Spirit can give us that sort of confidence!