And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.
Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus spreads the word, shedding his light. Later the same proclamations and works result in his self-sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to be born to eternal life. Not my will but yours be done.
Now the apostles, set alight by Jesus, spread the word and set others alight with his message. Following God’s will, not their own, their acts result in persecution and death but also give the hope of resurrection. Their self-sacrifice helped others achieve salvation.
We are, in turn, called to be set alight, to spread the word and light up Christ in others, setting aside our will while responding to God’s, withstanding persecution, evangelizing, working toward redemption. Do I ignore God’s call to follow truth to eternal salvation? Am I a facilitator for the journey to redemption for others? Or do I ignore his call by imposing my will for self-preservation, hindering my own path, being a roadblock?
—Mariette P. Baxendale, Ph.D., is the Science Department chair, member of the Ignatian Charism Committee and Active Proponent of Mission and Identity in the Classroom at De Smet Jesuit High School, St. Louis.
Lord, set me alight with the fire of Your love. Steel me against temptation and my human tendency to place my will above Yours. Remove my protective shell of weakness and fear and expose my heart so that I may receive You and give You. Guide me to be your conduit to make a way or clear the path for others to reach salvation. Amen
—Mariette P. BaxendalePlease share the Good Word with your friends!