Acts 20:17-27; Psalm 68; John 17:1-11
This is why St Paul said in the First Reading I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. Paul sees his ministry as a gift from Jesus and it is to testify to the good news of God’s grace. This grace is given as a gift and we are to proclaim this faithfully, without compromise. We do not compromise the Truth for the sake of attracting more people. St Paul willingly endured all abuses to him for the sake of the Truth because he knows eternal life is knowing the True God and Jesus Christ, whom he sent. If this is eternal life, we are not acting in charity if we encourage people to continue in their misconception of God. The question we need to ask is, why do we compromise the Truth? For what purpose? If it is to not offend people, or to bring them to the physical church, to show them we are good people, we are not acting in love. To act in love is to let them know the one true God and Jesus who was sent by the Father. Anything less than that is not an act of charity. In fact, if we present God in any other way, we present a false gospel, which Paul says condemns us.
Only the Gospel brings joy. Only the Gospel brings true freedom. Only the Gospel leads to true knowledge of God that leads to eternal life. This is what Philip Neri knew and lived. He lived at a time in Rome where extreme poverty was rampant. He decided to re-evangelize Rome at that time and in doing so, he found a confraternity of laypeople to help the pilgrims which later became a hospital. He founded the congregation of the Oratorians. Based on the name itself, it shows how much he values prayer. He said I will have no sad spirits in my house. Cheerful people are more easily led to perfection. Because of his work in Rome, he is called the Apostle of Rome.
Philip Neri knew eternal life is found in knowing the True God. While he did many good works, all these were done on his relationship with God which is based on the truth. Eternal life is not about a good life on earth. It is not about saving the environment, or helping the materially poor. Eternal life is about being faithful to God himself, accepting him as he is and obeying what he says. It is this knowledge of the One True God and of Jesus whom he sent, that leads us to do good to others.
Never compromise the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. Never water down the True Teaching of Jesus. Never settle for anything less than knowing Christ in his suffering and resurrection.
If you are searching for joy, or meaning in life, or fullness of life, Jesus said, there is only one solution: Know the One True God and Jesus Christ whom he sent. Come to Jesus so you can know him. Only he can give you what you seek. This is a gift from God. All you need is ask.
Lord, I come to you searching for true meaning in life. You said eternal life is knowing the One True God and you, whom he sent. I want to know you. My search for true meaning in life, is my search for you. Reveal yourself to me Lord so I may know you and love you. Give me joy that comes from you. Give me peace that only you can give. Give me eternal life that only comes from knowing the Father through you.