After Paul and Barnabas had proclaimed the good news
to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21-22)
Paul and Barnabas knew what it meant to undergo hardships. Their message, while accepted by many, was rejected by many. Those who rejected their message did everything that they could to rid themselves of Paul and Barnabas — and any other Christian.
The world then is not too different from the world now.
Today, there are many who still have not heard about Jesus. The Word needs to be proclaimed.
When it is, there are many who accept the message. There are many who do not. The ones who do not are often quite hostile to the message.
In our own country, there are large groups who appear to have fallen away from any practice of faith and who are ambivalent at the least to hostile at the worst toward the faith.
Recently, there was a terrible tragedy in Boston with the bombing at the marathon.
While not much press was given to this fact, I wonder how many people know that priests were barred from entering the area.
That’s right. At Boston’s bombing scene: Catholic priests need not apply.
When there were victims in need of consolation — some, in dire need of the sacraments — priests who attempted to respond were actively turned away.
We are living in a world that is more and more hostile toward the faith.
By the manner in which we live our lives, we are called to change that world.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who undergo suffering and persecution for living the faith. May they win many souls over to the Lord.