A night in a bad hotel

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11 May 2018

We can all think of people that have a marvelous ability to interpret every event as the ‘clanging chimes of doom.’ Today’s readings offer a different view. In the first reading, Paul has been the victim of targeted hatred, and it seems that this toughest of men is wilting under pressure.

The Lord appears in a vision announcing;

“Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

We can miss something here. Paul is in Corinth. The city was (in)famous for its wildness, crass materialism, and sexual immorality. If anywhere is going to be hostile, surely it is here.

Here, of all places, God has many people. Now Paul has won some converts, but the inference is that the Lord has already been at work and Paul will ultimately be safe.

In the Gospel, Jesus confirms that we will face sufferings – “you will have sorrow now” – but in the end, our joys will banish our sorrows. The Psalm has the same statement of confidence in God’s control over the universe.

In the Twenty-first century, Australia committed Christians certainly are targeted by individuals and groups hostile to the Gospel, but God has gone before us. And when we see Him, as St Teresa of Avila says; “In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in a bad hotel.”

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