Scripture Readings: Acts of the Apostles 8:5-8, 14-17; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21
In our First Reading today from Acts of the Apostles we heard:
Philip went down to the City of Samaria to proclaim Christ to them.
With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was going. For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured. There was great joy in that city.
When I read these few verses, I immediately remembered the recent Papal Exhortation by Pope Frances entitled: The Joy of the Gospel.
And if we were to sum up this Papal Document of 51,000 words, it was around the theme of Christian joy in order that the Church might rediscover the original source of evangelization in the contemporary world.
And that source is the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The necessity to live the Gospel we profess is something that is necessary for every generation, including ours.
The early Christian Community recognized the fact that they had to do more than say they were followers of Jesus Christ, they had to live it, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily.
Jesus tells his disciples that the world will know there is something special about them when they not only love God, but love one another…
Yesterday morning as I took my Friday four hour walk, I entered into discussion with a person who I knew, who was passing the other way. After his usual question to me, “What’s the good word?” To which I responded, “Don’t inhibit the good work of God and the good work of others.” He shared that recently, he began to pray every day for people he did not like or people he found it difficult to deal with.” He even went on to share that he recently met one of these people who was always hostile to him and when he shared with the man that he was praying for him, the man’s attitude changed on the spot.
This is faith in action…
This is patient progress…
Imagine the power of God, the power of the Gospel that could flow from this parish alone as more and more people believe that they are carrying God; Father, Son and Spirit with them every day, every moment of the day, into the world.
My friends, if we continue to believe that Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ is meant for us and for everyone, we will become more and more imbued with the love, the joy, the hope that comes from God, and others will notice it and ask about it and want to share in what God has to offer.
As a refrain of the song: Dwelling Place, by John Foley shares:
May Christ find a dwelling place of faith in our hearts.
May our lives be rooted in love, rooted in love.