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WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF EASTER MAY 4, 2022



A Reading from the Actos of the Apostles Acts 8:1b-8


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.


REFLECTION

There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered


Persecution was all about them, but they still continued spreading the word. Many saw the signs, many were converted


We read about saints who were persecuted and suffered, burnt alive, beheaded, quartered, roasted, crucified, years in exile, prison and solitary confinement, to name a few. When I read of these accounts, I say to self, "There's no way you could do that". Yet the accounts are that they peacefully and with joy continued working for the Lord and died for Him.


Perhaps such persecution is not in God’s plan for me or you, but are we not persecuted when ridiculed, scorned, discriminated, tempted and ostracized from social gatherings or family and heckled as in prolife ministry? Are we not persecuted when we suffer with a prodigal child, sickness or endure insults? Are we willing to die in self pity or use our sufferings for attaining graces?


St Augustine once wrote that Christians must imitate Christ's sufferings, not set their hearts on pleasures. Remember the promises of God, "And this is the will of the one who sent me that I should not lose anything of what He gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day." Do we believe that? Will we receive Him and offer our own persecutions to travel that road ?


Jesus was hit, flogged, beard pulled, crowned with thorns and crucified for us so that we would be redeemed, our debt of justice paid, and not be lost. Our priests, our shepherds, need to prepare us to be ready for spiritual combat and persecution. God never promised worldly happiness.


Persecutions for the sake of God are our direct path to God as we unite our sufferings with His. Our PAPA mission,

“Go and make disciples of all nations; behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 18:18,20) is our duty as we unite and bring many to God.


And on this road we walk with our priests so that we and they may be on fire for Jesus and His Church, but most importantly, that we may receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ as our food and sustenance. Please join in praying for the virtue of obedience and the PAPA prayer for priests so that one priest can bring 1000 souls to heaven. (St John Vianney)


May we be one of them.


They went about preaching the word.


God Bless You.

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