7th Tuesday of Easter
Acts 20: 17 – 22; Ps 68; John 17: 1 – 11a
In his address to the people of Ephesus, his last, St. Paul said, “But, now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.” Paul is “compelled” – a strong word and it sounds as if he is driven, forced, pressured to go and perhaps, that was his actual experience.
But the word in the original has a second meaning – it can also mean “enchanted” – other words, he is completely delighted in and attracted by the Holy Spirit. From all we know of him, from him it is clear that he is Sprit-lead, directed, graced. The word “enchanted: could easily give the impression of something superficial – not so, in his case. This is the depth of his “enchantment”: “Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish the course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.”
The Holy Spirit has granted Paul the strength of trust so that he lives in the complete assurance of God’s providence. The sufferings he has endured and even the ones to come will in no way diminish that trust. His words bear this out: “Yet I consider life of no importance to me…”
His witness, both in word and action, is a precious grace; he tells us, “Do not fear to entrust yourself to the Lord, do not hesitate because God is faithful, totally faithful.”
Jesus too speaks of a compelling grace, an enchantment – He says to the Father, “I am coming to You.” That simple phrase is what we are about by the Holy Spirit’s power; our life in its totality is a coming to the Father – begun, continued, deepened, completed in eternity. The same Holy Spirit who enchanted Paul is at work compelling us, enchanting us, drawing us – may we, like Paul, like the Lord Jesus embrace this grace with full faith and ardent desire.