But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch.
There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.” And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.
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.
My favorite part of the Easter Season is hearing all the action packed stories from Acts of the Apostles. From jailbreaks to miracles, and from earthquakes to a Holy Spirit light show, this book has it all. In today’s reading, Paul gets stoned! No, really! He gets rocks and things thrown at him, and he is left for dead outside of the city of Lystra. But nothing can keep Paul down, as he springs to his feet and continues on his mission of opening “the door of faith to the Gentiles.” Paul knows well “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Living as people who believe in the Resurrection, and striving to live by the example of Jesus, do we have the same resilience Paul does when we come up against “hardships”? Can we still offer the peace that comes from Jesus to those who cause us hardship?
—Alfonso Pizano, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, studying philosophy at Fordham University in New York.
O God, you restore us to eternal life in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Grant your people constancy in faith and hope.
May we never doubt the promises which we have learned from you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
—from the Roman Sacramentary
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