Televangelists often preach that those who follow Jesus will find health, wealth, and happiness. These preachers assure their audience that God’s blessings will keep them from any suffering or struggle.
Sunday’s readings bring us back to the reality of the paschal mystery — the mystery of life beyond death or, perhaps, life through dying. In Acts we see Paul facing persecution because of his preaching. Yet it was his response to this persecution that led him to turn to a wider audience, thus spreading the Christian message beyond the Jewish community.
Four short weeks ago we were beginning Holy Week, moving toward Good Friday and then the Easter Vigil. This celebration moved us from deep sorrow to incredible joy, with Jesus’ victory over death. Jesus never promised his followers that they would avoid suffering — only that suffering and death were not the last word.
Just as anxiety and stress can lead to incredible creativity, so suffering and daily personal “deaths” can lead to greater life for ourselves and others if we are as creative as Paul was when he faced persecution. No one can avoid the suffering that is part of human life. We need to ask ourselves how God is offering us life in this time of difficulty. With our Easter faith, we know that death is not the final answer.
— Sr. Barbara Bozak, CSJ
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
Revelation 7:9, 14B-17