There was great joy in that city
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!
Word Among Us