May 12, 2020

They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” They appointed presbyters for them in each Church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith. (Acts 14:22-23)

Paul and Barnabas were bold preachers of God’s word. In the presence of Jews and Gentiles alike, they witnessed to the wonders God had accomplished in his Son Jesus Christ. The spread of the Gospel and the growth of the church across the Mediterranean basin is in large part due to their dynamism.

Today’s passage from Acts presents a very different side of these men. As they complete their first missionary journey and retrace their steps to Antioch and the church that sent them out, their focus is on strengthening and nurturing the churches they evangelized along the way. Paul and Barnabas suffered mistreatment and abuse for the Gospel they preached; they exhort their fellow Christians to persevere in the faith and to endure hardships for the sake of the reign of God. They appoint leaders to see to the life and mission of the communities they helped found. These great apostles who planted the seed of the faith in the hearts of so many through their efforts, wish to see it grow to maturity, to the glory of God.

In this, they imitated Jesus himself, whose days were spent in ministry – teaching, healing, raising the dead to life. At night, he directed his energies to those closest to him, his apostles, instructing them, encouraging them, praying with them, and helping them to trust their own gifts and faith.

How do you nurture the faith and commitment of others?

Let us pray:

Jesus, I thank you for calling me to follow you and for revealing your love in so many ways. Help me to encourage my brothers and sisters in the church by my words and actions. Amen.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Anthony Schueller, SSS

Father Anthony Schueller was the Provincial Superior of the Province of Saint Ann of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the editor of Emmanuel.