Grace to you and Hapoy Easter!
There is an African proverb that comes to my mind this morning as I meditate on what happened to Saint Paul in Acts 19:19-20, the famous story of the stoning of Paul. The proverb is "Anya bebe, imi bebe." It means, "What affects a member of the family affects another." The literal translation is "when the eye is crying; the nose cries with it."
Suppose you were passing through a difficult time. It could be loss of a loved one, loss of a job, persecuted because of your faith. Or you are a victim of the attack of a malicious clique simply because you want to do the right thing. You were in your worst lows, and no one, no friend, no church member, was a support system when you had asked for it. How would you feel?
How about a believer you admire showed up? Maybe a member of the Morning Prayer group, those in Bible study or Legion of Mary with you, paid you a surprise visit. The person prayed with you, offered some inspiring words, made you laugh, etc. How would you feel?
One of the rich symbolisms about the Church we learned from Saint Paul is that the Church is the Body of Christ. Christ is the head, and we are the members. What affects one member of the family affects the other. When one member is broken, others should feel the need to heal. We are a community. We are a family, the family of God. The more reason we need to be a support system for one another.
If God were to open our eyes to see the power of a support system, we all would choose more of it. If we were to have an insight into the power of solidarity in moments of need, it would change our urgency to bring the news of joy. I suppose all of us would hastily go to find someone we could help out of a depressing or trying situation.
Saint Paul was stoned and dragged out of the city by some opposition group in Lystra who thought he was dead. I suggest the power of prayerful solidarity restored him to life. Hear how the Bible tells the story: “When the disciples gathered about him (Paul), he rose and entered the city, and on the next day, he went on with Barnabas to Derbe" (Acts 14:20).
Look around you. Many are knocked down and possibly on the verge of depression, if not already in it. It could be for lack of warmth, neglect, hatred, lack of food, clothing, etc. Many there are who walk out of the church because nobody would say "hello," even on a Sunday. Would you find someone today you could make to smile? Even in cases of social distancing as were are in, placing a call to someone who may need it may help. As things begin to return to new normal, would you look around your community and be a spiritual helping hand to someone. How about around your church; find that person(s) persecuted or ostracized because of their faith and let them know you care.
These simple gestures could warm the heart and awaken the stoned.
Pray: Lord, as you wished peace to your people, make me an instrument of peace and healing. Amen.
God love you. God Bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday, Easter Week 5: Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31a]
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.