Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:34-42) is the perfect pairing with the Responsorial Psalm (27).
The apostles are flogged for their insolence, in the eyes of the Sanhedrin. They are repeatedly warned to no longer preach Jesus Christ to the people. And yet, they continue to do so no matter the threats against them. In fact, they are rejoicing! Because they are telling the truth and they are filled with love and a keen desire to bring the Good News to everyone they meet.
The final sentence in this first reading is, “they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.” From this we can deduce that there is very little fear. And that is awesome.
The Psalm includes the words,
“The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?”
And the refrain includes the thought that the only thing the author seeks is to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” And that’s why there is no fear, we can surmise. To know that you are doing the will of the Lord and, if someone ends your life while you work to accomplish the mission He has given you, you can be consoled by these words.
If you get to go Home, why should you be afraid? Well, because it’s unknown. And the unknown can be scary. So that’s when you have to trust the Lord’s promises are true. Do you believe that? I do. But I also know that I often fail in my mission out of fear of what others will think of me, of what friends or anyone I meet might say to me, that they might turn away or belittle my beliefs.
We’ve got to not only admit our belief in God but also to try to make sure others know about Him. I struggle with what it is God wants me to do. How loud should I be? How should I get the Good News out? How do I make sure God’s love is made real to others?
It’s a question I continue to ask Him. It’s a challenge I am not giving up on. I know there is a way. Here is a prayer I pray and hope for an answer. It’s attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola. Maybe you haven’t seen it before and will find it as encouraging as I do.
Lord, teach me to be generous,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to look for any reward,
save that of knowing that I do your holy will. Amen.