STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles.
Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him.
Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church;
entering house after house and dragging out men and women,
he handed them over for imprisonment.
Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Thus Philip went down to the city of Samaria
and proclaimed the Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
came out of many possessed people,
and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.
There was great joy in that city.
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
Those who were sent forth to spread the good news that Jesus is the Son of God ran into constant persecution. Following the recalling of Saul’s persecution of the Church, Philip went down to Samaria and performed many signs. Impure spirits left, the sick were healed, and there was great joy in the city.
The timing for living a Christian life was not perfect. It seemed that so many people were angry with the message of Jesus. Even the man we know as St. Paul was caught up in the abuse of the Church. Scriptures tell us that Saul began to destroy the Church. He didn’t just dislike the Church respectfully…He wanted to destroy it. He was not alone. Many people at this time were riled up with hatred for this Church that we today so often take for granted. Some of these people may have been afraid of what was being asked of them by the Christians. Others of them may have been angry with the way that the new Christians seemed to push away Jewish traditions. There are countless reasons these people could have felt challenged. Following from these challenges, there was so much pressure on the individual Christians to turn away from their faith, to give up…But the Christians had strength and persevered.
This reading speaks of a man named Philip. People listened when Philip spoke. Who is Philip? Without Jesus…just another guy…but with Jesus, Philip is a man who preaches with authority, a man whose words can cause supernatural effects.
We come across many different opponents to our faith daily. The news constantly reports stories of people who actively turn away from the Lord. Our friends make decisions that will only bring fleeting happiness and then pain. Our families, even if they are faithful, still aren’t perfect in loving us. And even you and I fail sometimes to live like we have been called. Not only does Jesus want us to be happy and holy, He wants us to bring all the others with us to that happiness.
Who are we? Without Jesus…just another person…but with Jesus, we are blessed.
We can be like Philip.
Each of us may feel like we can’t make a difference, or that talking about the faith causes us to be more uncomfortable than it does in helping others know the Lord but as Acts shows us, if you have courage and step forward in faith through the words of Jesus, lives will be changed. Our lives will be changed. There will be joy in our cities, in our schools, in our friendships, and with our families.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
What relationships are hardest for me to talk about Jesus?
Where can I serve like Jesus called me to in daily life?
Do I trust that if I do what Jesus wants I will be happy?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
Those who had been scattered, preached the word.
There is great joy.
With Jesus, we are blessed.
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Today, notice the little ways your love of Jesus brings peace to those around you.
LOCK SCREEN GRAPHIC
Today's prayer was prepared by Bobby Blood, seminarian for the Diocese of Rockford.