Homily for May 23, 2017
In our Gospel passage yesterday, Jesus describes us as his witnesses and at the same time declared that as his witnesses, we are bound to face persecution. “A time will come when anyone who kills you will think that he is doing a favour to God.” John 16:2.
This was exactly the experience of Paul and Silas who were beaten and thrown into Prison in our first reading today. The book of Sirach reminds us: “My son, if you want to serve the Lord, be prepared for an ordeal.” Sir. 2:1
Let us pause for a while and ask ourselves: “Since I became a Christian, have I ever experienced persecution before?” And the next question is: “how did I react to it?” “Did I apply the method of Paul and Silas in today’s reading?” or “Did I go about narrating my story before everyone who cares to listen?”
In the face of persecution, the nature of our response matters. Paul and Silas did not go questioning God when they were viciously attacked. They did not become depressed when they were inflicted with blows, beaten with rods and thrown into prison.
They did not begin to cry like babies; they were firm in their spirit. They found a way to sing as they were praying. No matter how tough life becomes, we all have to learn from Paul and Silas to sing even in the midst of fire.
As we see here, singing and praying are not ordinary activities, they are great spiritual weapons. God who did not prevent them from being beaten and thrown in prison became moved when he heard them pray and sing and he not only freed them from prison, he brought about the conversion of the chief jailer.
The Christian life is not easy but there is always a way out; singing and praying are two things we can do anytime and our situation will definitely change for the better. Do not be sorrowful. The steadfast love the Lord never ceases. This is what Jesus reminds us of in the Gospel passage.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may I be fully prepared to receive the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 6th week of Easter. Bible Study: Acts 16:22-34 and John 16:5-11).