Grace to you!
Yesterday, I hinted that the Resurrection brought about renewed hope, favor, and enthusiasm for the apostles and disciples of Jesus. It is the same for us.
To be sure, in the history of salvation in Christ, the early disciples hold a unique place. Yet, the graces of the Risen Lord did not end with the early Church. Those graces continue to flow from generation to generation for anyone born anew in Christ.
Divine favors flow from the Risen Lord. It's a blessing for us to hold on to this belief. Nevertheless, being witnesses of the resurrection isn't always a bed of roses. It's a blessing with two sides—the rose and the temporal thorn.
Recall that right after the joys of the resurrection, Acts of the Apostles consistently showed the contrast of ridicule and the persecutions which followed. It's as if every victorious chant was short-lived by some boos. On and on, the circle continues. Though, in the end, glorious songs carry the day.
If anyone wants a faith-journey that does not come with persecutions, then Christianity isn’t it. Right from the time of the Apostles until now, persecutions have been part and parcel of our Christian witness.
Acts of the Apostles 5:12-26, for instance, records the second prominent persecution against the apostles ordered by the High Priest. The guards put the apostles in public jails. They endured a lot of torments. I believe many of the early disciples must have passed through profound psychological trauma too.
I recognize many people detest persecutions. I do too. It's understandable and human. But, if we would hold to the truth of the resurrection, we are to be disposed to expect ridicule and sometimes rejections.
We have to be prepared for the worst, though we are not to allow the worst things that happen to define us. Our courage as believers should be proactive. We do not want persecutions or temptations to catch us off guard when they occur. Ultimately, we are to be vigilant, as Scripture suggests (1 Pet 5:8).
Get this straight: Christ has not promised us a faith-life with only nice things. Certainly not frosting on the cake. Instead, he has given us a living hope, joy, boldness won on a crimsoned cross. It means, I suggest, we win by fighting all the way through.
Glory lies in believing and witnessing to the Risen Christ against all the odds. It isn't merely by believing the comfortable. It's by swimming against the current.
G. K. Chesterton was spot-on when he argued that "only live fish can swim against the current." Against the current is the luster of life's crown.
May the grace of resurrection bring us joy, peace, and blessings amidst the trials of life. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Week of Easter, Wednesday: Acts 5:17-26; Jn 3:16-21]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.