Monday, May 27, 2024

Homilies

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
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Facing Opposition

Homily for Saturday of the Fourth Week in Easter

During the past few days, the reading from the Acts of the Apostles has detailed the work of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. First, they address themselves to the Jewish community of Antioch and were able to bring some of the Jews to faith in Jesus. However, it was not until they turned their attention to the Gentiles that they realized a greater response. The reaction to their acceptance of Gentile converts gave rise to jealousy among the Jewish community. As a result, Paul and Barnabas faced opposition to their mission.

The reading ends with a very potent line. “The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” In the face of opposition and persecution, this reaction seems contradictory. However, as has happened before in this book of the New Testament, the disciples realize that when they were called upon to suffer a rejection, opposition, and persecution, they realized that they were following in the footsteps of their Master. Jesus himself experienced the same rejection, opposition, and persecution. The fact that they were able to stand fast in the face of this reaction gave them great joy because they realized that they had been called upon to suffer as Jesus had suffered.

St. Luke also uses a phrase right out of the Gospels as he details this episode. “So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them…” This line comes right out of the instructions that Jesus gave the apostles when he first sent them out two buy two. Rather than feeling daunted by their rejection, they simply moved on to the next location where they continued to preach the Gospel.

The fact of the matter is that every one of us will feel rejected by some other people. As the line goes, “you can’t please everyone.” Jesus has taught us how to move on from rejection. In the world today, our secular society tends to ignore us when we preach the Gospel through the example of our lives. It is at those times that we need to remember how to shake the dust from our feet and move on.

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