Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
What Do We Do?
Today, Paul is concluding his final farewell to the Ephesian presbyters, who met up with him here in Miletus. Like a good shepherd himself, Paul leaves them with parting words that are for their good and for the good of all God’s holy church, over which they have been appointed.
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock.” (Acts 20:28) He warns them of what will happen if they leave themselves and their flock unchecked. “Savage wolves” will come from outside and “not spare the flock.” And even from inside, “from your own group,” there is the possibility of “perversion of truth.” (Acts 20:29-30) Keeping watch and being vigilant is hard and constant work. Paul showed them an example: “for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.” (Acts 20:31)
And after his solemn warning, he entrusts them to God and encourages them to depend on God’s word, which “can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.” (Acts 20:32) It is God who encourages us in our every affliction, as the Apostle wrote elsewhere (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
And then they wept. See how they loved him. Perhaps they did not want him to go, but they knew he must. He is in God’s hands now.
So, what do we do? Paul gives us three things:
1. Keep watch. Over yourself primarily, and over those for whom you have responsibility. What are the “savage wolves” that are openly attacking or that have sneaked in under sheep’s clothing?
2. Work hard. Not for your own gain, but for the sake of others. Paul says, “Keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
3. Encourage others. Everyone could use a word of encouragement, especially those who work hard on your behalf for your good.
Reflection by Br. Luke Kral, OSB