The First reading at Mass today, the 5th Sunday of Easter, reminds of the struggle to live faithfully, to grapple with the experience of hardships.
Paul and Barnabas went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.
They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans.
This unity between Paul and Barnabas will not last much longer: they will argue over how to pursue the mission, and what resources from the Church they can draw on. Hardships and struggles come from without and from within, but in faith, and in Christ, the mission continues…
- What are your present hardships?
- What have you struggled with in the past?
- Where is God opening doors in the life of those around you.
Detail of the Holy Door, St John Lateran. (c) 2016, Allen Morris