Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

May 24, 2011

Mandy Widegren

Freshman, Biology Major with Pre-Dental Focus

Acts 14:19-28
Ps 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 21
Jn 14:27-31a

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”-Acts 14:22

One day, when I was in high school, I was made fun of by some of my ‘friends’ for being a Catholic and going to church. They would mock certain things that I did and certain things that I believed: they threw stones at my faith. In the reading for today, Paul was stoned almost to the point of death and was dragged out of the city. But when he arose, beaten and bruised, he went back to the city! How brave he must have been! How faithful he was! Have you ever been beaten – not physically beaten per se, but emotionally or spiritually beaten – and then returned to the place where you had been injured? The day after my friends had made fun of me, I questioned whether or not I should try to hide from them for the day. Yet, I knew that I had to go back to them, and stand up for what I believed – they could not break me down. So, like the reading says, I had to persevere in the faith and trust that by going back to the ‘crime scene’ I wouldn’t have to deal with another ‘stoning’ or that I would at least be strong enough to endure it. Today we are called to act like Paul – if we are ‘stoned’ because of our beliefs, we are called not to run and hide, but to instead stand up with faith and courage. Additionally, we are called to continue to profess our faith, as Paul did when he went to proclaim the Good News to others. We are called to ask the question, "have there been days when I was attacked for my beliefs and instead of standing back up, I went and hid?"

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” -John 14:27

One of my favorite parts during Mass is when the priest recites this passage right before we get to exchange the sign of peace with others in attendance. Being able to kiss my parents, hug my friends and share a sign of peace with the community makes me feel so connected and loved by all those around me. And while “peace” is a term that is thrown around a lot these days, the peace that is spoken of in John is no ordinary peace. It is the peace that Jesus Christ gave to us – the kind of peace that helps us deal with hardships and pain, losses and sickness, with hope and poise. So when we are at Mass, we are not only extending a handshake to those around us, but we are sharing in the awesome and powerful peace of Christ with our brothers and sisters. How incredible is that?

Connecting back to the reading in Acts, we can see what helped Paul stand up to those who stoned him – Jesus Christ’s peace. It seems a little daunting, at least to me it does, to stand up to all those who stone us. After we have been attacked for a long time, it seems easier to just lie down and lick our wounds. Yet Jesus Christ gives us his peace to help us endure these attacks, because with him we can have the perseverance of faith like Paul did. We have a choice. We can either listen to the voices of those who stone us, or we can listen to our Lord and stand strong in our faith in spite of our attackers. As it says in the Casting Crowns song, the “Voice of Truth”:

“And the Voice of Truth says, “Do not be afraid!” And the voice of Truth says “This is for my glory”. Out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth”.

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