SATURDAY OF THE SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER MAY 30, 2020
Reading 1ACTS 28:16-20, 30-31
When he entered Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself,
with the soldier who was guarding him.
Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews.
When they had gathered he said to them, “My brothers,
although I had done nothing against our people
or our ancestral customs,
I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem.
After trying my case the Romans wanted to release me,
because they found nothing against me deserving the death penalty.
But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to appeal to Caesar,
even though I had no accusation to make against my own nation.
This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you
and to speak with you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel
that I wear these chains.”
He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
“He received all who came to him, and with assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Raise your hand if you have ever fallen off a horse. Well, that would be my experience. In my defense, the saddle was broken so I only had a saddle pad and reins to ride our family’s horse.
One thing I knew about our family horse was that my brother taught her how to walk and trot to the back of the pasture and then, run at break-neck speed on the way home. He rode her this way for a few years, so I knew he trained her to ride in this pattern.
However, the beautiful fall weather was pristine for a ride and I worked up the courage to ride without a saddle, thinking the horse would obey my commands. However, I was sadly mistaken when she took off running without me half way through the ride. As I hit the ground, I looked up and saw the horse in mid-air directly over me and thought I was a goner if she stepped on me. I could hardly believe God’s protection over me when she didn’t crush me with her hooves. To add to my good fortune, she didn’t run off but stopped and waited for me to climb back on. I didn’t hesitate to take her offer, because I didn’t want my last ride to end in fear.
It is said, St. Paul fell from his horse on the road to Damascus when he was blinded and heard the voice of Jesus asking why was he persecuting his Savior. He learned the truth and changed his life to help evangelize the world. He followed the way of Jesus and lived his life, regardless of the circumstances. He was beaten, arrested, imprisoned and held in house arrest and yet he continued the mission Jesus gave him, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I associate my last horse-riding experience with a Christian life. You get on to ride, even though there are challenges before you. Sometimes you lose your grip and the ride will throw you to the ground. But in following Christ, you have to push the fear away and get back up to begin again. The limits of this world-wide pandemic present life as a ride without a saddle and can cause fear to guide our decisions.
As we continue to navigate the changes to return to a more social life, may we keep the Holy Spirit with us. He alone will help us get back on the “horse”, until we reach home.