Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts16,1-10; Resp. Psalm: Ps100,1-3,5; Gosp. Accl.: Col3,1; Gospel: Jn15,18-21
Success in any enterprise in life comes with hardwork, good planning, strong commitment, clear vision, grace, support and mercy of God. When human efforts and commitment meet with God's blessings, the result is resounding success.
The Apostles and disciples post-resurrection had no other business no other preoccupation than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They believed in their commission. They devoted their lives to its realization. They listened to the direction of the Holy Spirit. After the Council in Jerusalem where the decision to exempt gentiles from circumcision was taken, Paul had to go round the Christian communities he founded to give them the good news coming from Jerusalem.
Paul's message brought the churches strength in the faith and increase in terms of members. Paul and his missionary companions preached the gospel without cars, microphone, internet, television, social media! They walked most of the fine to bring the good news to far flung lands: Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Traps, Macedonia.
In all this, they listened to the Spirit of Jesus and obeyed the Spirit even in terms of the direction of the mission. They did not disobey the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They bore much fruit, fruits that lasted.
They never had it easy. They were hated, rebuked, reviled, their name was taken as a byword. They were persecuted. But the Apostles and disciples always remembered the words and warnings of their Master about the great cost of discipleship. They remembered that their Master told them that if the world hated them, the world had hated Him before them.
They remembered that their Master had told them that if they were in the world, the world would love them. They recalled to mind that they were servants and could not have been greater than their Master. They knew that their Master was hated unto death. They understood that their own fate could not be different. They embraced the death warrant that being disciples of Jesus meant in those dark days.
Their lives continue to challenge us who are today's believers. Their commitment to the gospel is a wake-up call to us to look deeply into our lives and access our level of involvement in the work of the gospel. Their zeal reproves us whenever we choose complacency in place of dedication, sloth in place of making courageous choices, fear in place of boldness, silence in place of witnessing with our words and lives, personal comfort instead of asking what our resources can contribute to furthering the course of bringing souls into subjection to the lordship of Jesus.
The lives and exploits of the Apostles and early discioles that we read about this Easter season are the wake-up calls we need to move us to action. O that today we listen to God's voice, let us not harden our hearts. Let us fall on our knees and ask for forgiveness for putting our personal, earthly interests over and above the furthering of His kingdom. Let us simply tell Him with deep faith and commitment of life: "Here I am Lord, send me; use me for your glory."
Let us pray: "Almighty eternal God, who through the regenerating power of Baptism have been pleased to confer on us heavenly life, grant, we pray, that those you render capable of immortality by justifying them, may by your guidance attain the fullness of glory." Amen.
May the Living Word of find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.