In yesterday's readings we found the common theme to be persistence. In the first reading (Acts 6:8-15) members from the synagogue gets into a debate with Stephen who is speaking the Word of the Lord. They did not like it that Stephen was proclaiming on about the Holy Spirit. Therefore they took action against Stephen which is all too common of a happening that we have read over the past few days in the first reading. A group of people including Scribes, elders and people apprehended Stephen and takes him before the Sanhedrin. Then at once they begin making false statements about Stephen accusing him of many unlawful things. The reading ends abruptly in the middle of Stephen's trial with mentioning that everyone in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15). The Book of Acts continues to show us how persistent the disciples were. Equally so, we find in the Gospel that the Apostles too were persistent.
The Gospel (John 6:22-29) continues to move forward. Now, it is the day after the feeding of the 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. The Apostles and Jesus' other followers awake to find that Jesus is nowhere to be seen. They go on a hunt looking for the miracle worker. All of the boats were accounted for and so that left the only conclusion that Jesus must have walked on water in order to get out to the island where they found him. They could not get enough of Jesus' miracles, they wanted answers but Jesus ignored their pleading and pointed out the larger picture to them. Jesus said,
Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
They wanted to know what it was that they must do. Jesus told them that
they must, "...believe in the one
He has sent." Needless to say,
this was a difficult concept
for them. Put yourself in their
shoes. What would you think
if Jesus came to your homeland
and started healing the blind,
making the deaf
hear, and walking on water?
It would be shocking right!?!
I sure think it would be and
I've been practicing the faith
my entire life. No one ever said
faith was easy. I am going to use
a line from a fictional movie, The Santa Clause, to illustrate what faith is all about. In this clip, the little elf explains to the new Santa Clause, Tim Allen, that "believing is not seeing, seeing is believing." I invite you to watch the clip!
Faith is not always easy.
Having faith is a difficult concept for us because we are human--we are predisposed to all kinds of things including sin, disappointment, depression, cancer, and other illnesses just to name some examples. When life is going well we feel close to God, but when life is tough we feel distanced from God. Think of it this way. Put yourself in a boat in the middle of the ocean. When your life is seemingly going well you sense Jesus' presence in the boat with you and the ocean waters are still. Then all of a sudden, life happens, and you notice that the once still ocean waters are still no more. Rather, the waters get choppy and you no longer sense the presence of Jesus with you in the boat. Or at the very least, Jesus' presence seems more distanced and hard to grasp. Life's challenges are going to rock the boat; However, these difficult and challenging times help us to grow.
Meditation: Do your best to be like Stephen and the disciples and no matter how rocky the boat gets from the choppy waters be persistent and never give up. How can I be more persistent when life rocks the boat?