Psalm 87: 1b-3, 4-5, 6-7 “…My home is within you…”
John 10: 22 -30 “…The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep…”
Saint Paschal Baylon (1540 – 1592) in a century that produced many great saints from Spain, St. Paschal stands out for his devotion to the Eucharist and for the way he followed his vow of poverty. He joined the Friars Minor in 1564 and became a Brother. He spent his spare moments praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and encouraged others to do so; this along with the remarks about wisdom from today’s readings are inspiring me too.
There are a couple of points that struck me about today’s reading in Acts. We’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions since Easter with Christ’s rising from the dead; and now we are witnessing the first martyr’s death in this week’s readings. The first sentence shows the good that is coming out of the slaying of Stephen. Mostly out of fear, people are scattering away from the more central place, and because of this the Word is traveling with them, reaching more people. We are reminded that God can bring good out of the worst circumstances. At the end of that reading, I found myself wondering what it felt like back then to start hearing the name Christian; Jesus was a Jew and so were his apostles? I wondered if they were okay with their name change, and then I realized I had also heard about how ready they were to suffer for the “Name”.
Christians living in the free world don’t suffer at the same level for the Name. We hear plenty of Christian bashing in our media, but it’s not the same as losing your life. We know there are many places around the world where Christians do lose their life because of their Faith and we wonder how it can still be happening today. In the Gospel, Jesus tells those who hear his voice are his sheep and they follow Him. We are believers today because of those who heard Christ’s voice 2000 plus years ago. We like them are scattered and continue to spread the Word, through our actions and sometimes with our words. It was said of Stephen, that he spoke with such wisdom. It is wisdom I seek too as life just keeps getting more complicated. So, I find myself being called back to more time in prayer as the world is drawing so much of my attention today.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus said the sheep who hear his voice will never perish, yet dying to self is recommended. Do we really believe the Psalmist, “my home is within you”? May we take today’s small lessons to heart so that we too may keep spreading the Gospel in everything we do and say. Happy Easter All!!!
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