April 13, 2016
There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.
Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:1B-8)
What a contrast between those two paragraphs from today's readings. In the face of "severe persecution," there was "great joy." How could the disciples face such bleak situations with confidence and grit?
In the past, the indefatigable Fr. Mike Schmitz has essentially written my reflections for me. Today, I defer to him completely as I am unable to write my own reflection this week. Here is his homily for this past Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter: Heroic Confidence: Becoming unoffendable
"After Pentecost, the early Christians had a unique strength. Not only did they boldly proclaim the Gospel, but they were immune to insults and taking offense. As followers of Christ, we must choose to avoid giving offense, but we must also choose to not take offense. Being offended is always a sign of immaturity. Christians must be so grounded in the truth and rooted in our identity in Jesus that we choose to become unoffendable."
Praised be Jesus Christ, who gives us our whole worth, our identity.