Tuesday 5th Week of Easter
AA 14.19-28; John 14.27-31
When stoned to death St. Paul went right back to the same people who threw those stones. He only did this after fellow disciples prayed with him.
St. Paul had a pretty rough day
when those Jews returned from Antioch and Iconium.
Stoned, dragged out of the city
and thinking he was dead,
we hear of a marvelous moment
when Paul’s fellow disciples gathered around him,
probably prayed and what does he do?
He goes right back into the den of wolves
with no fear whatsoever.
Remember that the Apostles did this earlier
when the angel let them out of the prison during the night.
Paul wasn’t looking for more trouble.
These Jews who stoned him won back converts to Jesus.
But the care and love that he received
when his friends gathered around him
gave him the courage to
“strengthen the spirits of the disciples
and exhort them to persevere in the faith.”
We all know people, family members, and friends,
who have left the practice of the Catholic faith
for one reason or another.
I’ve witnessed and heard so many times
such people have returned when approached
with the love and care, Paul showed the people
in Antioch and Iconium.
We can go back as well,
and perhaps we need to keep going back to people
who once worshiped Jesus with us.
In the gospel Jesus promised
that he will come back to them.
He always comes back to them
when we care for their immediate needs and concerns.
That always comes first before we ever share
a word of faith.
We always share first an act of love.
We continue to shower them with acts of love
and in time they will begin to ask us
about our faith and why we practice the way we do.
Like Paul, Jesus tells us in the gospel
to not be afraid but be at peace
because he is in every word, every gesture,
and every beat of our hearts,
as we affectionately approach
a brother, a sister in the Lord.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
I will come back to you and take you to Myself.”
He says this to us and to each
and everyone who left him in the Holy Eucharist.
Let us remember, he normally comes back to another through us.