May 4, 2021

They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.

Paul had scarcely become a Christian when he was asked to suffer for the faith. Stoning was not a pleasant way to die. Every stone left a bruise, and enough of them had been thrown that Paul was rendered unconscious from the torture. Those stoning him were convinced that he was dead. They then dragged him out of the city and left his body for the dogs and vultures to take care of.

When Christians came to claim the body, Paul got up, brushed himself off, and seemingly said, “Doesn’t hurt.” Paul was not simply being a stoic, however. His letters make clear that he was grateful for the fact that Jesus had suffered and died for him. As we read in Colossians 1:24, “I rejoice in my sufferings for your sakes, and in my flesh, I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, on behalf of his body which is the church…” Paul was happy to be able to suffer for the one who suffered for him.

Every day, we can join in the celebration of the Eucharist. There we come face to face with the depth of Christ’s sufferings and death on our behalf. How willing are we to accept our own afflictions on behalf of Christ’s body, the church? The Mass is not intended to make us feel good as much as enable us to be good and continue here on earth what Jesus began in his lifetime. Jesus does not expect us to moan and groan over our sufferings but pick ourselves up, brush off the dust and pain, and carry on our responsibilities as his disciples here below.

Let Us Pray:

O Jesus, grant me the privilege of rejoicing in my sufferings because of everything you suffered gladly for my sake. Please help me to be a true disciple.


charistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.