There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem,
and all were scattered
throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria,
except the Apostles. (Acts 8:1b)
There was a movie several years ago — The Right Stuff — about the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their impact on the space program. Those astronauts were depicted as having what it took to do their jobs; i.e., moxie, determination, and courage.
Courage is not the “stuff” we generally think of when we remember the Apostles post-Easter. That is probably because they were far from courageous. Rather, they were hiding out, fearful that the Romans would get them next.
Today’s reading is not a post-Easter account, however; it is a post-Pentecost account. After the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and others, they were filled with great courage, a courage that helped them to face not only opposition but even persecution.
As the persecution spread in Jerusalem, we read that many of the early converts scattered. But the Apostles remained steadfast. Their example brought many to the faith. As a matter of fact, their example — and their courage — frightened the Romans. They had never seen anyone stand up to persecution the way the Apostles did.
The Apostles’ “secret weapon”?
Well, Jesus, of course.
Jesus and His Holy Spirit are our secret weapons as well. With the Lord’s help, we have no need to fear. We, too, can be as courageous as the Apostles. We, too, can face our enemies and know that God will give us what we need when we need it.
We can run in fear and scatter like those early disciples in Judea and Samaria. Or, we can accept God’s help and go out into the world, proclaiming the Good News.
FAITH ACTION: In prayer today, ask God to give you the courage of the Apostles so that you may do what is asked of you by the Lord.