The transformation in the hearts and spirits of the apostles that resulted from their encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus provides a powerful witness to the truth of their witness. That the post- Resurrection period of Christianity was marked by large numbers of conversions to the apostolic faith that Christ is the Savior sent by God. That message continues to resonate today in our times, though with varying response in different countries of our world. Christianity is being witnessed to in the Middle East, in Africa, including Nigeria, and even here in our own country at the price of suffering. Here so far the price paid is in financial and social oppression. In other countries, persecution included even bloodshed, ostracism, and violent oppression. In Iraq and Iran among other countries where the Church was established centuries ago only greatly reduced numbers of Catholics remain.
That God can unexpectedly change this state of persecution is the very message of our Lord’s victorious Resurrection and the successful witness of Peter, John, and the other apostles. That in His mysterious Providence He allows it to continue for extended periods as history reveals, is a test of our faith. May we never waver in our trust.
The Gospel provides us with the greatest of assurances as we hear saint John declare in bold terms that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son .“ Each of us who puts faith in the Son of God who gave himself for our sins and rose, as St. Paul tells us, to give us justification is assured of God’s grace and mercy. May each of us remain firm in persevering fidelity to the great gift of His love our Lord gives us in this Eucharist.