Father David's Reflection for Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter
The Responsorial Psalm teaches us to experience God by depending on God: "Not to us, O LORD, but to your
name give glory" (Psalm 115).
In Acts 14: 5-18 we see again the pattern of the "kerygmatic" or "heraldic" preaching of the Good News: First, pre-evangelization: a miracle raises a question to which the only true explanation is Christ's action in his risen body (14: 8-14): "Not to us, O LORD, but to your name give glory."
Then comes evangelization, the preaching of the Gospel in answer to the question (14: 15-18, with Paul's presumed development). But unlike previous occasions (see Acts 2: 41-47; 4:4, 23-36), there is no record of the third phase, Eucharist: the celebration of the Good News by those who believe - presumably because the Jewish faction "won over the crowds, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city" (verse 19).
To bear witness to Christ as prophets we don't have to work healing miracles. But we do have to be a visible, living miracle of grace! The "pre-evangelization" essential to effective proclamation of the Good News is a lifestyle, a way of living and acting, which raises questions that cannot be answered except by the teaching of Jesus and the empowerment that comes from his resurrection. The cost of prophetic witness is to live in radical contradiction to the spirit of this world and to risk persecution by those who are threatened by this.
In John 14:21-26 the apostle Jude Thaddeus asks, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" Why do people, even within the Church, resist the prophets and reject their witness?
The answer is that, like the Jews who stoned Paul, they identify religion with observance of the rules and adherence to orthodox doctrine, and find their security in this. But those who love Jesus enough to want to know him will become disciples, studying his words. They will enter into intimate union with God: "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
Obviously, right doctrine and rules are important; they are just not Christianity. Christianity is truth and love experienced live with God: "The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send, will teach you everything." Constant attention to and dependence on God's action through the Holy Spirit is our only real security: "Not to us, O LORD, but to your name give glory."
Initiative: Be a prophet. Live in dependence on the Spirit. Seek guidance through God's words in Scripture. Listen, love and live.