In the first reading, Paul faces the questions of the Jews and realizes he also will have to face the Romans. The Lord tells him to take courage in the face of that task that is still ahead of him: bearing witness.
We all have to take courage, to encourage each other. In a world that often seems so focused on the material, the easy way out, it can take courage to do the right thing, to stand up for your beliefs and your convictions.
We also need to bear witness for those who face social injustice in whatever way we can. We may not be called before the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees, but we still can bear witness and do what we can.
And we can take courage from Jesus’ prayer to his Father in the Gospel: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
This deep and abiding love and support can serve to encourage us when we falter. I like to hear the words that Jesus is praying for me, that I am a gift. We each are a gift. I pray that I remember that when I am feeling stressed or cranky or irritated because the world seems to be conspiring against me.
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