Don’t Be a Lone Ranger!

Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up

Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.

Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1

6th Week of Easter

They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him. (Acts 17:15)

It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far from the truth.

From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us: Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known: Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness (Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.

Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).

If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so do we!

Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships? Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just simply express how much they mean to you.

If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of the body of Christ.

“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

John 16:12-15

#CatholicLiving #CatholicWay

Keep Your Joy!

This is the most joyous season for a Christian!

Christ has risen from the dead and has overcome death for us.  And He is still with us before His ascension into heaven.  Easter Sunday marks the beginning of the longest holiday (50 days) in the Catholic Church.  It is important to remember this but with the difficulties that we frequently encounter and the bombarment of the news media which focuses on the negative, it can be tough to remember our joy.

The meditation in today’s Word Among Us can help us to keep our joy.  The article follow below.

 

Meditation: Acts 8:1-8  

There was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:8)  

You watched your friend Stephen being stoned to death. Now persecution has broken out in your city (Acts 8:1). You might even be the next person killed for believing in Jesus. So you leave Jerusalem, but you keep preaching the gospel—and many people turn to the Lord. Despite the risks you face each day, you are still happy to see so many conversions.  

What if the early Christians had focused on their precarious situation instead of on all the good they saw happening? Instead of rejoicing, they would have become fearful and discouraged. They might have decided to abandon their newly found faith instead of continuing their mission to spread the good news.  

Most of us don’t experience the same kind of persecution that the early Christians faced. But we may still feel overwhelmed at times by what we see around us. Even if we don’t experience it directly, we hear plenty of bad news—homicides, drug overdoses, famine, abuse, and so much more. A steady diet of such news can wear us down over time and cause us to lose our joy.  

But here’s what doesn’t make the news: how the love of Jesus in the hearts of his people causes them to reach out to others in love. Think of all the men and women who dedicate their lives tending to the poor and forgotten. Think of all those who teach RCIA or work in Catholic schools or campus ministry. Think of the people who care for women who need healing after an abortion. You are probably part of this “good news” yourself!  

Don’t discount simple everyday acts of love and kindness either. Maybe you had a kind word for a coworker who rarely talks to any of her colleagues or a neighbor who keeps to himself. Maybe you kept your cool while helping your children reconcile after a fight. In situations like these, you are bearing the love of Christ and spreading his word.  

Today, choose to focus on the good news. Think of one act of love you have seen or read about recently. Then rejoice that Jesus is alive and active among his people today!  

“Heavenly Father, help me share the good news of Christ’s love to one person I encounter today.” 

Published by Word Among Us, May 8th, 2019

#KeepYourJoy

#Easter

 

 

 

Looking for More Unity in Your Life?

The readings the past several day have been very inspiring.  The writers at Word Among Us have also been inspired and one of their pieces from April 30th is presented here.

 

Mass Reading & Meditation for April 30, 2019

Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind. (Acts 4:32)

Why did the early Christians decide to share all that they had with one another? The short answer is the Holy Spirit. After Pentecost, the followers of Jesus decided to place everything in common—property, possessions, and money—so that no one would suffer from lack. Motivated by love, they wanted to make sure that personal possessions posed no stumbling blocks to their unity.

God wants us to live in unity as well—in unity with our spouses, in our families, and in our parishes. We know that this can be hard to attain, even when we earnestly desire it. It can be so easy, even if we don’t intend it, to place our needs and wants above other people’s or to see things only from our own perspective.

That’s why it’s good to ask ourselves, Where can there be more unity in my life? Maybe an estranged relationship with an adult child or a coworker comes to mind. It could be that you have a gnawing issue in your marriage. Maybe you see divisions at work or among the people in your parish.

Once you have settled on a situation, take a few moments to pray for unity. Even a simple prayer such as “Come, Holy Spirit; bring us together in unity” can make a difference. Then, quiet yourself and try to listen to what God may say to you. Maybe he’ll encourage you to be more attentive to your spouse’s concerns. He may give you a fresh perspective on a troubling relationship at work. He may even prompt you to do something to bring two parties together—over a meal or in a conversation. He is creative, so just try to be open!

We probably aren’t called to live the way the early Christians did, but we can still strive to have “one heart and mind” with one another (Acts 4:32). We will never achieve perfect unity in this life, but as we pray, the Spirit will give us a greater desire for it—and show us what we can do to help make it happen.

“Holy Spirit, show me how I can be an instrument of unity in the lives of those around me.”

Psalm 93:1-2, 5

John 3:7-15

Published by Word Among Us.

#HolySpirit

#Pentecost

He Came to Help Us Carry our Burdens

The publication The Word Among Us has always been a favorite for me and today’s was excellent.  Read it below.  #Jesus  #JesusChrist

Meditation: Isaiah 50:4-9 

Wednesday of Holy Week – April 17, 2019 

I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard. (Isaiah 50:6) 

Amazing, isn’t it? This one single verse sounds so much like Jesus’ passion—and not just the event of his scourging at the pillar. The humility and generosity of the servant in this verse beautifully captures Jesus’ heart as he endured his entire arrest, trial, and crucifixion. 

Imagine what Jesus must have felt when he heard these words proclaimed in the synagogue. He must have realized at some point that they referred not only to the ancient prophet but to himself. Maybe it struck him with terror. Or perhaps, because he was the Son of God, it didn’t bother him at all. 

The truth probably lies somewhere between these two extremes. Being human, Jesus naturally experienced great distress about what was awaiting him. But then in his divinity, he could pray with complete confidence: “The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced” (Isaiah 50:7). So while he certainly felt great apprehension over what lay ahead of him, he also found strength knowing that his Father would never abandon him. 

There’s a parallel here to our lives. We can’t see into the future, but we do know that we all have our own share of hardships to deal with. It could be major, like the death of a loved one, or minor, like being stuck in a traffic jam for three hours. The magnitude of the challenge is not as important as how we deal with it. We can either fret about it or try our best to place it in the Father’s hands as Jesus did. 

Know that in surrendering your hardships to God, you can expect to do more than just endure them. You will find new confidence knowing that 

Easter Sunday will come for you just as it did for Jesus. You will find strength in the knowledge that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Jesus didn’t come to add to your burdens. He came to carry them with you. Remember: he walked the road to Calvary precisely so that he could walk with you today! 

“Lord, I trust that you will keep me in perfect peace as I meditate on all that you have done for me.” 

Psalm 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34  

Matthew 26:14-25 

WANT MORE? SUBSCRIBE AND RECEIVE FULL ONLINE ACCESS. 

Access our entire archive of articles and daily meditations with a Print or Web Edition subscription. View subscription options. 

Special Offer: Free Two Week Web Trial Subscription. Sign up now. 

Print Subscribers: Full Web Access is Free! Login for full access. 

© 2019 The Word Among Us. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy