Grace to you!
There is an African proverb that comes to my mind this morning as I meditate on what happened to St. Paul in Acts 19:19-20, the famous story of the stoning of St. Paul. The proverb is “Anya bebe, imi bebe.” This means, “What affects a member of the family affects all.” (The literal translation is “when the eye is crying, the nose cries with it”).
Suppose you were passing through a difficult time, say 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, prayed with you and made you laugh. How would you feel?
One of the rich symbolisms about the Church we learned from St. Paul is that the Church is the Body of Christ. Christ is the head and we are the members. What affects one member affects the other. When one member is broken, others should feel a sense of urgency to heal. We are a community. We are family.
If God were to open our eyes to see the power of a support system, the power of solidarity in moments of need, I suppose all of us would hastily go to find someone we could help out of a depressing or trying situation.
St. Paul was stoned and dragged out of the city by some opposition group in Lystra who thought he was dead. The power of solidarity restored him to life. Hear how the bible tells the story: “When the disciples gathered about him (Paul), he rose up and entered the city; and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:20).
Look around you. There are many who are knocked down, at the verge of dying for lack of warmth, for neglect, for hatred, for lack of food and clothing. 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? Would you look around your church and find that person who is persecuted and ostracized because of her faith and let her know you care? Can you pay that priest a visit who is maligned because he believes in church orthodoxy?
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 your peace. Amen.
God Love you. God Bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday, Easter Week 5: Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31a]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.