Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Homily: Wednesday: Easter III: 2013

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

An impartial observer, if there is such a thing, would certainly conclude that there is currently an active attempt in our culture to isolate, marginalize and discredit Christianity. You know what I am talking about; I do not need to provide the documentation. But I often find myself uncomfortable with the idea that Christianity is just another interest group demanding its rights. Western Christianity has suffered not from too much persecution but too little. According to the New Testament persecution is not only to be expected but also in a certain sense necessary. As the reading from Acts today indicates persecution was viewed as an opportunity.

Stephen has been killed setting of a new round of persecution and the Church is being forced out of her stronghold in Jerusalem. “Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison”. The Church is driven into the countryside, where Jesus had probably exercised much less influence than in the Holy City. St. Luke tells that the apostles remained in Jerusalem because of its important connection with the life and death and resurrection of Jesus.

But Philip goes to Samaria and proclaims Christ. The Samaritans were not an obvious choice to receive the Gospel. The Samaritans were Jewish heretics and in fact had not welcomed Jesus, when he had come to them. But now the Samaritan multitudes give heed to Philip.

It was not that the Samaritans felt sorry for the persecuted Christians or even that they identified their persecution with that of the Christians. It was simply that God had given the Church an opportunity to preach the Gospel, the same opportunities he gives us.

The persecution of Christians in our own day is also an opportunity, if we will take it. We like to select carefully the right folks to bring to Church. Young people would be nice. Well off people maybe even better. But there are no right people, only the people that God gives us to hear and receive the Gospel. The right people are the people we have been given.

Or maybe we wait for the right time to share the Faith but the right time somehow never comes. The right time is the time God gives.

If Christianity is worth persecuting, it is worth proclaiming to the world, beginning in our own backyard.

Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.

No comments: