April 30, 2021
It seems that in our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles Paul can't win. He tries to join the apostles but they won't let him. Then the hellenists try and kill him after hearing him speak. Rejected and persecuted, Paul goes on to become one of the greatest writers and supporters of Christ's mission the Church has ever known. Paul's journey reminds us that Christ can speak to whomever he wants and equip them in whatever way he sees fit to accomplish his mission in a collaborative way.
We might ask ourselves the questions: Why would we want to collaborate with Christ? Why would we want to abide in someone so controversial and hard to predict?
Imagine somebody with great means passing on their successful business or corporation to their children. Along with potential and responsibility there also comes a great freedom to reinvent and create something new. To work with others on a project that brings joy, humility, and purpose. And if it succeeds there is more life and resources to reinvest or to share. But it is a risk and one is free to say no.
In a similar way, Jesus continues to pass onto us an invitation to join his successful mission. One in which we are called to participate in, make decisions, grow and learn in collaborative ways. One that has already succeeded to transform things in remarkable and permanent ways. And if we choose to abide in him we begin to live in the freedom that comes with knowing we are loved, forgiven, and provided for. And not just enough for the day but more than enough so that we might share it and be filled with the same joy, hope, and peace that St. Paul had.
So when we experience rejection, or feel the pain of those moments when other people want to cut us down or bring any kind of harm to us, we ought to remember that we're not alone. We abide in Christ who has been raised from the dead! And those who abide in him allow his friendship to move us towards, and equip us for, many similar and different expressions of his mission that always brings new life.