Glory from Suffering, Joy from Sorrow, Life from Death
Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles recounts the tragic persecution of the early Church, the death and burial of St. Stephen — along with the imprisonment of many men and women at the bidding of Saul of Tarsus who was trying to destroy the early Church. A tragic picture of life then…and a mirror image of life in part of our world today. Tragic – and yet, some believers continued to go about preaching the word; thus in the name of Jesus, healing of spirit and body took place for those in need; and “…there was great joy in that city.”
At the very heart of it all: the person of Jesus who in John 6:35-40 proclaims “…I am the Bead of life…I came down from heaven…to do the will of the One who sent me…everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” Jesus freely and lovingly gives Himself … glory from suffering, joy from sorrow, life from death. The Result? Eternal life for Stephen and the early Church, Life for our ancestors in the faith, Life for you and I and our needy 21st Century global community.
In these troubling times of war and fear, of division and mistrust, of poverty and greed, we need the nourishment that is only provided by the Person of Jesus. Human life is too often beset with significant challenges and suffering. As people of faith, we are invited to embrace God’s love for us in the person of Jesus, risen and active on our behalf in the Scriptures and the Sacraments, in the good example of others of times past and present, and in God’s Life shared in the natural world.
Jesus, risen from the dead, is our Life and our Joy! We are an Easter People! “Alleluia!” is our joyful song…even if at times sung a bit off-key. Let’s share this Good News of God’s glory, joy, and life with our world.
Fr. John Schork, C.P. serves as the Province Vocation Director and also as Local Superior of the Passionist Community of Holy Name in Houston, Texas.