The night before his death Jesus prayed for his disciples, including us in that number.

Thursday, 5/21/15

Let’s give thought to one interesting aspect of what Paul did in the first reading, and then to an interesting aspect of what Jesus said in the Gospel.

Although Paul was perhaps our greatest Christian, that was not incompatible with his remaining a devout Jew. After he had made his final journeys through Turkey and Greece, he fulfilled a very Jewish vow that required him to shave his head and to spend days in Jerusalem’s temple. Two of his Gentile converts accompanied him to Jerusalem.

A group of anti-Christian Jews, on sighting him in the temple, hauled him before the Jewish Sanhedrin, making the false accusation that Paul had violated the courtyard of Israel by bringing two Gentiles in there. They wanted to put Paul to death, but since their Roman overlords would not allow them to do it, they brought Paul before the Roman governor, asking him to have Paul crucified.

The governor assembled Paul’s accusers, and that had Paul showing us that even a holy man might use slick methods. Seeing that half of his accusers were Pharisees who believe in life after death, while half of them were Sadducees who did not believe in life after death, Paul took the pressure off himself by getting his accusers to arguing between themselves.

Let’s turn to the Gospel.  Jesus, in his final prayer for his followers was saying, “I pray not only for these,” and then, lifting his gaze above the heads of the Apostles, and seeing each of us far off in the future, he continued his prayer, saying, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word.”

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