Written by: Evan Cowie, UF Student
Turn on the T.V. and flip to a random channel. Open YouTube, and find the Trending videos. Open Snapchat, and take a quick look through the featured stories.
What did you see? I’m willing to bet that you didn’t see God mentioned – not even once. At best, you saw indifference to religion. At worst, maybe you saw someone advocating a lifestyle contrary to the teachings of God, or of the Church – or perhaps even directly attacking the Church.
Welcome to the world! This is the status quo, and has been ever since our first parents Adam and Eve turned away from God. As Christ Himself said,
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:18-20).
This is what we heard in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles. They’ve just cured a sick man, and what do the authorities do? They put the apostles on trial! Just as they rejected Christ, even after all of His miracles, so to are they going to reject the apostles.
It doesn’t matter, though – “The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.“ The words of the Psalmist, written about 1000 years earlier, spoke to this truth. No matter what rejection we experience from the world, it does not matter. Like Christ, and the apostles after Him, and all the holy saints throughout the ages, our lives are not for this world. The kingdom of God, in which we have a share as children, is not of this world.
Yet, we’ve still got to reach out to those still living in the world, those that reject us. As Christ tells us in today’s Gospel reading, He has other sheep that do not belong to this fold. As the Good Shepherd, He desires to go after the one lost sheep, even if there are 99 others already in His fold (Luke 15:4).
Brothers and sisters, Christ is Ascended. He has no hands and no feet on this Earth to do so – none but ours. We are the body of Christ, and so we ought to act with His will. He reached out continually, speaking the truth unwaveringly, even to the point of death. We are called to follow in His example.
So today, reach out to somebody. If the world is dark, that is only proof of how badly it needs the light. As members of the Church, we alone hold that light, which is the fullness of God’s Truth and Grace, made fully present in the Sacraments. Don’t keep that light to yourself! Let it burn with vigor and passion, burn for the whole world to see. Don’t be afraid – darkness cannot overcome the light.
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (John 16:33).