Acts 18:23-28; Psalm 47; John 16:23-28
In the Gospel today, Jesus says, that if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you… Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete… on that day you will ask in my name. He commands us to ask in his name. Many have misinterpreted this as asking anything such as winning the lotto or to get something material and they will get it. Such teaching distorts the true meaning of what Jesus meant. To ask in his name is to ask what Jesus will ask. Jesus tells us the purpose of this: so that your joy may be complete. He did not say so we will be happy or materially prosperous. He said we ask so our joy may be complete. Going back to what we said yesterday, this joy happens when Jesus sees us, meaning, when we come to Jesus and get to know him.
How do we know Jesus? The first reading tells us of Apollos who was a Jew and native of Alexandria. He was eloquent and well-versed in scripture and he had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus. Apollos is convinced Jesus is the Messiah. He is convinced of the Gospel message. We can say he was a Bible believing Christians. However, he was humble enough to come under Priscilla and Aquila who taught him more accurately the Way of God. Who are Priscilla and Aquila? The previous readings tell us they were Jews in Corinth whom Paul stayed with. They must have learned the Way of God through Paul. The phrase more accurately shows there were some things in the teaching of Apollos that were not accurate, which required more fine tuning. Apollos accepted the authority of Priscilla and Aquila because their teaching came from Paul.
This shows that while one may interpret Scripture accurately, one needs guidance from an authority to more accurately interpret it. This authority comes from the teaching of an Apostle, in this case of Paul, through his disciples Priscilla and Aquila. If we want to know Jesus, to come to Jesus and have joy that is complete, we need to know Scripture and interpret it more accurately. Knowing Scripture alone is not sufficient because it needs to be interpreted accurately, according to the teaching of the Apostles.
While we may know God through Scripture, we will not know him more accurately without the guidance of those who hold fast to the teaching of the Apostles through centuries. Without this proper interpretation, we cannot worship God in Spirit and Truth. We will have the wrong idea of Christ and worship a god of our imagination, instead of what the Psalm tells us: the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
Do you want perfect and complete joy? Come to Jesus, let him see you and reveal himself to you. Do you want to know the true Jesus? He commands us to as for anything in his name and the Father will give it to you. Knowing Jesus is not only an intellectual exercise. It is a relationship of love, of surrendering ourselves to him. And he accepts you just as you are.
Lord, I want to know you more. Here I am, seeking perfect joy that only comes from you. I do not want the fleeting comfort of things. I want the fullness of joy that comes from knowing you. And I claim your promise, that if I ask in your name, the Father will give it to me. So now, I ask you, to take me as I am, with my faults, fears, doubts, sins, guilt, shame and heal me, comfort me and give me your joy. My problems may still be here, but I know, you are here with me. Reveal yourself to me in Scripture. Help me understand it through the Church that has remained faithful to your teaching through the Apostles. Let me find joy in the Sacraments she gives.