- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

April 24, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

4th Tuesday of Easter Time
Acts 11:19-26; John 10:22-30

As we reflect on today’s passage from Acts, it might be good to remind ourselves that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians” (Tertullian). The persecution of the church in Jerusalem became the springboard for the proclamation of the Gospel in Antioch. People are often drawn to the church when they see the perseverance of those who have endured persecution for the faith. The Psalmist put it this way. “Man’s anger will serve to praise you and its survivors will surround you in joy” (Ps. 76:10). The persecution that was meant to impede the spread of the gospel actually became the impetus for its dissemination. This notion is underlined by the author of the Letter to the Romans: “We know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him. They are the ones He has chosen for his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Under God’s providential gaze, everything we have to endure can bring us nearer to the heart of Christ who is nearest Father’s heart. It is there, close to the heart of God that we find our dwelling place. As Saint Paul stated it, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20).

As an heir of the Kingdom, the disciple of the Lord is commissioned to proclaim the good news, and invite those they encounter to become aware of the one in whom he lives and moves and has his being. When Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will make manifest the holiness of the Church. This holiness flows from the bond of love that is the communion of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus, the Beloved Son is the good shepherd who gathers his flock into the unity that He has with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ body is the Temple where the Most High dwells. He is the Word made Flesh who dwelt among us. As the crucified and risen Lord, Jesus is our guide as we negotiate the twists and turns of our troubled times. When bad things come our way, we need to make Saint Paul’s words our own. “I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10).