Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts14,19-28; Resp. Psalm: Ps145,10-13,21; Gosp. Accl.: Lk24,46; Gospel: Jn14,27-31
They told of the works of the Lord. They blessed the name of the Most High among His faithful people. They spoke of the glory of God's reign and declared His mighty deeds. They made known to the children of men the might of the Lord and the glorious splendour of God's reign. They spoke of God's everlasting kingdom and of His rule that endures forever all generations.
The Apostles lived the gospel. They preached the gospel without fear. They proclaimed the glory of God with great courage and conviction. They testified to the experience of love that God had with them. They testified to His amazing goodness. They took the word of the Lord with immediacy. Their lives bore great fruits.
The peace that our Lord promised today as part of His last Supper discourse was realized in their lives. They experienced the peace of the Lord in the midst of the greatest turbulences around them, in the face of dangers and prosecutions, distrust and hatred. They knew the peace that the world could not give. Their hearts were untroubled and they were unafraid of the machinations of the evil world around them.
The Apostles held on to the word of our Lord. They knew that the Master had returned to the Father. They fully rested their faith on this conviction. They rejoiced that the Lord, having gone to the Father, was in a better position to plead their cause before the Father and prosper the work He had called them to do. They knew that no matter the circumstance or situation they might find themselves, the ruler of this world would have no power over them. They believed; they bore great fruits.
We see that demonstrated in today's first reading. We are amazed at the energy, commitment, zeal, passion and deep serenity of Paul who was stoned at Lystra by the Jews who came from Antioch and Iconium, towns where Paul had preached the gospel with great success. That near death experience did not deter Paul. He rose up from where the Jews had left him, supposing he was dead, and entered the city of Lystra and the next day went with Barnabas to Derbe.
Then after preaching the gospel there, he returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, places where he knew his great adversaries were situated. He preached the word, strengthened the souls of the disciples, appointed elders in every Church, went down to Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia and returned to Antioch. The gospel was their life. They bore great fruits. They brought pagans to faith in the Lord Jesus.
When we do not have the peace of Christ within us, we fail to make impact. When we are not earnest in our convictions, we bear no fruit. When we do not believe that the work of making Him known has been entrusted to us at our baptism and we are not about the work He has given to us, we win no soul for His kingdom. When we treat the work of evangelization as the responsibility of others, and decide not to be disturbed in our "comfort zones", our lives lack meaning.
Let us wake up today. We have the example of St. Joseph the worker to guide us. He lived out his mission as the guardian and foster father of our Lord. He dedicated his entire life to this purpose. He never looked back. He did his work as carpenter and offered up the suffering and drudgery often work as a veritable means of sanctification. Let us imitate him in our commitment to our daily work from which God provides us our daily bread.
As we begin a new month today, the fifth of this year and one specially dedicated to our Mother Mary, may the good Lord, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother, bless us in all our plans. May He accompany us in all our actions, bless the work of our hands, make them fruitful for the kingdom, grant us His protection from all dangers, save our persecuted brothers and sisters from the hands of bloodthirsty enemies of human life and the gospel. Happy New Month.
Let us pray: "O God, who restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Christ, grant your people constancy in faith and hope, that we may never doubt the promises of which we have learned from you." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.