Monday May 18, 2020
Well, as we see, Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John certainly came true for His Apostles. They were expelled from the synagogues, arrested, persecuted and all were mayrtered in the name of Jesus except for John. They traveled the world spreading the word of Jesus Christ, they preached in Rome, in Jerusalem, in Greece, the Near East, the Far East, India, wherever they were called they went and just as we heard last week , in some places they were accepted and in some rejected.
The stories of Paul’s travels we read in Acts, like today’s, give us examples of people the Apostles met who helped them along the way. Lydia was a great helper to Paul and he spent much time with her. Paul was a tent maker by trade and, he had to at times, stay in areas for a period of time to earn some money to further his travels. When in Thyatira, he’s set up shop with Lydia as she sold her cloth, Paul could make tents or sails for boats and earn what he needed. And there were folks in other cities whom Paul would stay with in like situations. The Apostles weren’t in situations where everything was just given to them. They did have benefactors, but there were also times when they had to fend for themselves and work to continue their work for the Lord. And as we read, much of the money there earned went to the local community to the churches there and people who needed assistance. So we see a system in place which was a precurser to our outreach to the poor, sick and needy we have today. As I have mentioned before, these are great stories of community building and working for the common good.
I believe Bishop Pates expressed this sentiment wonderfully in his statement last week in outlining the diocese’ plan for reopening the churches:
While everyone must exercise good citizenship in observing these restrictions, I call on the Catholic faithful, both as good citizens and as advocates for justice and charity, to comply with these regulations. From the earliest times of Sacred Scripture, we learn that our “brother’s keeper,” is a truth that must inspire us as we are called to sacrifice in line with the virtue of patience. We should also be motivated by life and human dignity. This is, at its least, a time to proclaim the breadth and depth of what it means to be pro-life, especially as this virus preys on the most vulnerable in our midst.
As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the Bishop is asking all the faithful to have that sense of the common good, to look out for all our brothers and sisters and to continus to be Christ for one another. As our parish and community begins the probably slow and difficult task of reopening, we do need to exercisr patience and charity with one another. All this will not happen overnight, just coming up with a plan on how to move forward will take some time. Even as restrictions are lifted, the virus andits residual effects will be with us for a while it sounds like. I pray that we as a faith community hold on to that notion of the common good continue to be Christ for one another. Christ told us the poor will always be with us, I think it will be a situation now where we will be saying, the most vulnerable will always be with us. Let us not think of ourselves first and foremost but we pay attention the whom we can be of help to and like Lydia, assist in someone else’s journey.