“That night the Lord stood near him and said, ‘Keep up your courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.’” (Acts 23:11)
At the beginning of Christianity, Israel was just a colony of Rome. Paul who once fought Christianity became a great evangelist. Even Paul did not find it easy but God was with him through his trials. Once, God miraculously freed Paul and Silas from prison, this time, God spoke to him in captivity: “Take courage, you will bear witness at Rome.”
Paul went to Rome as a prisoner but fast forward two thousand years, Rome has become the headquarters of the Church. What does this teach us?
- God knows how to write straight on crooked lines. We do not know why God allows certain things to happen, but God is a master-planner. What looks like your valley of the shadow of death may eventually become your podium; your launch-pad for success.
- Never be afraid of defending your faith. The fact that the world despite its hatred has not been able to destroy Christianity is a testimony; a miracle happening before our very eyes; a proof that God is with His Church. No matter how gloomy things may seem, just remember that no one can battle with God and succeed.
- Always allow God to do your fighting for you. Just as no one can fight God and succeed, you cannot win unless God is on your side. Seek first God’s kingdom and be fervent in prayer. God will do the rest for you.
Our Psalmist today sings: “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” When God is fighting for you, it will be so obvious that He is in charge. Just as there was commotion between the Pharisees and Sadducees, God can even make your enemies fight themselves while you watch.
- There is power in unity. Jesus prayed in today’s Gospel passage “may they become perfectly one so that the world may know that you have sent me…” (John 17:23) By all means avoid division, fights, blackmail, hatred etc., in the body of Christ.
As St. Paul would say, it is better to be wronged and suffer injustice than hold lawsuits against your fellow Christian. (1 Corinthians 6:7). We battle not against people (flesh and blood) but against principalities and power. Strive for unity. Do not become a pawn in the hands of the enemy for the destruction of your fellow Christian.
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit and enkindle in us your Sacred Fire. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 23:6-11, Psalm 16 and John 17:20-26).