Jesus has overcome the world. That is why those who put their faith and trust in him cannot but win in the face of trials, woes, doubts.
It seems that it would not be hard for the early Church to win over others. For others spoke highly of the Christians and joined them in great numbers. Yet the truth is that it has not always been smooth sailing for the Church, not early on and not now.
There is no doubt that the first Christians enjoyed fellowship, communion, peace. But soon Ananias and Sapphira lied. Then there was the summons to stand before the Sanhedrin. After this, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews. And after Stephen’s death by stoning, a full-blown persecution took place. Later on, dispute arose between those who were for the circumcision and those who were against it. Paul and Barnabas, of course, led those who were against, but the two ended up splitting up due to Mark.
And such stories of the first Christians are our stories, too, today. So, it is worth it to read the Acts of the Apostles and see parallels with today. For to read from where we stand their stories will open our eyes to the truth that Jesus is with us. He, God-with-us in good times and in bad, is the proof beyond question that God is with and for us. Who then can be against us?
Yes, Jesus sees to it that those who believe and trust in him will win and not sink. They live by him and his words. Hence, no evil shall hurt them and they shall lack nothing, though disaster seems near (CRCM II:2). As did the first Christians, true disciples today will come out of trials, woes, doubts, better and stronger than before. They listen more to Jesus and to one another, are more understanding, inclusive, universal, catholic. They know, of course, that to win with Jesus means to lose.
Lord Jesus, we put our faith and trust in you, not in ourselves or philosophy, theology or speeches; you alone can make us win. Let us have our fill of your word, of your body and blood, so that we may have the strength, in times of crisis and trials, to go up with you to the holy mountain. So that we may be willing, too, to give up our bodies and shed our blood for others, even to march into hell for heaven’s cause, to be cut off from you for the sake of our brothers and sisters.
13 August 2023
19th Sunday in O.T. (A)
1 Kgs 19, 9a. 11-13a; Rom 9, 1-5; Mt 14, 22-33