Msgr. Ed Meulemans – my friend and mentor
Study: Who are your role models? Who are the people in your life who work hard, live by their values, and are loyal in the face of difficulty?
Pray: What do you need to ask God for strength for this week? What is going on in your life that requires direction, guidance, and grace?
Serve: Who is struggling in your life right now? Can you help them or perhaps direct them to the assistance they need?
Lit with the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in the first reading today. They travel to the city of Antioch and their story follows a pattern that occurred frequently in their ministry:
1. They speak about Christ
2. Some heard their message and followed
3. Some DID NOT
4. Pressure mounted against them, forcing them to leave
We know that Paul had success as a preacher; yet it is easy to take for granted his efforts. Each city was a challenge – telling the story of Jesus, setting an example of faith, working to provide enough money to live on, and dealing with opposition – and he endured this situation for years!
Clearly this ministry was difficult. It required a lot of hard work. Paul exerted enormous effort in his time and personal energy. He was tested in body, mind and soul. There were times when he felt alone and abandoned; there were times when he wondered if he was getting through to anyone.
We know, however, that Paul had a fire inside of him that could not be extinguished. He had been transformed by the Lord on the road to Damascus. He had been healed of his blindness, and he had experienced the witness of other disciples whose lives had been reshaped by the resurrection of Jesus.
Yet through all this hard work and conviction, many people did not accept the message of Christ. They listened and walked away. Some insulted Paul, others mocked him, and still others followed for a time and then went back to their old lifestyle. Each time must have cost something to Paul; to work so hard and have to let people go….
What sustained him? What gave him strength in his times of need? We are told that the disciples were filled with joy; the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit blessed them.
Like Paul, we are called to follow the Lord. It is not always easy. There are times when hard work appears to show no results. At these moments we look to the example of the Apostles, who persevered with conviction and joy. After all, the Good News needs to be proclaimed – yet each one of us must decide if we will listen and follow Christ.