During this fifty-day season of Easter, we must believe that the resurrection of Jesus can make a difference in our daily life. Perhaps there will be consolation in our prayer life, a new surge of energy, or personal change. Today we are given insight into another quality: resilience.
Paul faced great resistance and sufferings as a missionary. We see that his travels didn’t all yield accolades and large collections. He was stoned in Lystra and thought dead. I’ve slept in hard beds, noisy rectories, and had teens laugh at me while I preach, but nothing like Paul. When the disciples gathered around him in prayer, he "got up." With no thought of returning home, he preached in Derbe and then had the audacity to return to the site of the stoning to "strengthen the spirits of the disciples and to exhort them to persevere!" He continued preaching in other cities and completed his first missionary journey. Soon he was prompted to begin another journey and then another.
Many people I meet feel tired, burdened, and overwhelmed. Everyone is "busy," and it takes a toll on all of us. Paul demonstrates to us that the "peace" Jesus came to bring is a reservoir of power within us helping us face trials and bounce back from seeming defeat. Rather than giving up, Paul got up and faced his destiny. He wouldn’t let his heart be troubled or afraid. He understood that trials were part and parcel of being a disciple and are a necessary condition for entrance into Heaven.
Whenever I suffer set backs, seeming defeat, or difficult circumstances, I look to the stability and tranquility that is mine in Christ. Paul and others who lived so valiantly and persevered encourage me. Whatever you are going through right now, don’t let your hearts be troubled or agitated. Look to the tranquility of Christ within. Jesus is Risen and that makes all the difference. I heard a quote about attitude that I love: "We can’t control the waves, but we can learn how to surf."
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 16 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/