And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The first reading tells us of the persecution of the early Church and how Saul was trying to destroy it. How often have you felt persecuted? Perhaps you felt defeated by obstacles when trying to do the right thing. Shouldn’t it be easier to be a good person?
Today we are reminded that it often isn’t. Our best efforts will often meet with great resistance. But from that resistance, God’s will is still done. The scattering of the early Church brought the Good News to distant lands, like the scattering of seeds. We can’t know God’s plan fully; we can’t always see the life that will come from the seeds we sow. But we can trust that his way is the right way – even if it seems wrong to us. So today, put your trust in God and know, that no matter what happens, God is in control.
—Elizabeth A. Colborn is an English teacher at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, and is the moderator for the Young Authors Club. She is belongs to St. Brendan parish in North Olmsted, Ohio, where she is a member of the Pastoral Parish Council, a lector and Eucharistic minister.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability
— and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!