daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 7th Week of Easter, May 26, 2012
Acts 28:16-20, 30-31; Ps. 10; John 21:20-25

"And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered" (Acts 28:30-31).

St. Paul has finally arrived at Rome as a prisoner in chains and is awaiting trial for preaching Jesus Christ. We see him here in Rome in chains but still preaching Christ, which he continued to do for another two years. He did not cease doing what he was accused of and for which he was awaiting trial. He has the courage of his convictions and continues giving witness to the truth and to his faith in Christ.

We are to do the same. We are not to be afraid of testifying to the truth and to our faith in Christ. We are not to fear persecution, or the thoughts, words, or actions of other people who may oppose us because of our testimony, preaching, or holy way of life.

In an environment where practically everyone imitates the secularized lifestyle of the world around them, we will be very different indeed if we do not let ourselves be carried away by this trend. Being different is the price I must pay for being a Christian, a believer, a disciple. As a Christian, as a priest, as a consecrated person, I am not to just uncritically imitate the ways and fashions of the culture and world around me. Rather I am to live in accordance with my faith; and as a priest, a consecrated person, I am to live in accordance with my consecration, with appropriate times and places of silence, and with appropriate dress, and not simply imitate what the world around me is doing. As a Christian, as a priest, as a consecrated person, I am different from the world around me, and I should live differently.

We should not be afraid to do this. "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28). We are not to fear the world and those who think like the world and live in a worldly way. Our life as Christians, priests, and consecrated persons should be different and should be a witness to the world. We are to be witnesses to the world, not imitators of its worldliness. We should give open and clear witness by the way we live, and not be afraid. "Every one who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32-33).

If we are persecuted or rejected for our way of living, for our witness to the truth and to our faith, let us remember the words of Jesus, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10). And "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19).

We preach Christ both through our words and through our way of living. Our life is, in fact, our most powerful and most important sermon. How we live should back up how we preach.

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