Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7
“Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word...”
“…Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory
of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, ‘How tremendous
are your deeds!’…”
“…’I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will
of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent
me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should
raise it on the last day.’…”
The messages jump out from today’s readings as if urgent. Beginning with Acts, “Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. Meanwhile, Saul was trying to destroy the Church…” (Acts 8:2-3). The new Christians are facing persecution and death and the people are scattering throughout the countryside. But, in that scattering, we read “Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). And a little later “There was great joy in that city (Samaria)”(Acts 8:8). The people were frightened and wanted to leave their homes, to leave what was familiar. But in that dispersal, they spread the Joy of the Gospel throughout Samaria. From all that despair and destruction, God triumphed over the evil. We are reminded that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church that Christ established.
We also catch a glimpse of Saul the great persecutor in today’s reading, and we know Christ will soon be turning Saul’s (Paul’s) life around as well. The message of our Creator’s Love, as told in the mystery of Christ’s life, death and resurrection is life changing. Sometimes it takes getting knocked off of our horses for some of us to listen and believe. Looking at this early time in our Church’s history, and looking at how strong the Church is today is quite a contrast. Yes, we have a new set of problems facing us today, but we can be confident that the Lord will make something good come out of these challenges as well. It is not the first time we’ve faced adversity, and it will not be the last time, but the Faith Christ started will prevail. Let us be listening for how the Lord wants each of us to move from that which is familiar and comfortable, to be of service for His Kingdom.
In John’s Gospel, the words of Jesus, “I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day” (John 6:38-39). There is something so reassuring to know that Jesus will not lose us. We have been created by the Father, and placed into the care of the Son. There are some days when we don’t feel very loved, such that trying to comprehend the Love of God the Father is difficult to say the least. But having just walked through Lent into Easter, and to hear the instruction the Father gave the son, today’s message further helps us comprehend this most perfect kind of Love. Oh, but if we could let our hearts fully grasp today’s message, let us pray we can become God’s instruments to move our existence to a higher level fit for all people. To those God has given much He expects much. Since, God can turn all things around for the good; Our Blessed Lady tells us to pray, pray, pray; we need not despair.
“Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”
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