When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
Three days later he called together the local leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, yet I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.
When they had examined me, the Romans wanted to release me, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is for the sake of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
It is obvious there is great suffering in this world. Children at our border are separated from their parents, no plan to bring them together, some have died. Recently, I read of a man who lost his job after 25 years at a General Motors car plant in Lordstown, Ohio. For three generations this plant had been his families “ticket to the middle class.” He lost the “only real job he had ever had.” Many other examples of the world’s suffering could be stated.
In today’s first reading, Paul is in Rome, humbled under house arrest and in chains; he knows his execution is near. Yet, he is allowed to receive visitors and he uses these visits to spread the Good News of Jesus. This love we have celebrated in this Easter season started with Jesus’s passion and his brutal death on the cross. Paul is following in Jesus’s footsteps.
In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius states, “This is necessary for Divine protection…that as far as possible… I humble myself to obey the law of the Lord in all things, so that not even were I made Lord of all creation, or to save my life, here on earth, would I consent to violate a command of the Lord.” (para. 165)
Whatever sufferings the world puts before us, when we humble ourselves to the Lord, divine protection is certain. Even though Paul is under arrest and in chains, he celebrates the love of the Lord. This is an example for us.
—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years. He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain. He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.
Almighty Father, let the love we have celebrated in this Easter season be put into practice in our daily lives.
—From the Opening Prayer at today’s MassPlease share the Good Word with your friends!