There are always three readings from the Bible at the Sunday Mass (not including the Psalm response). Usually the first reading at Sunday Mass is from one of the Old Testament books, the second from one of the letters in the New Testament, and the last reading from one of the four Gospels. The Easter season is the exception. Although the second and third readings are typical, throughout this season the first reading always presents the story of the early Church as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. We see how, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the number of the baptized continues to grow and the Church prospers. But it isn’t all balloons and butterflies. In the passage from today’s reading from Acts, Paul and Barnabas tell the people that “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” In fact, the early Church was frequently severely persecuted. In addition to persecution there were the inevitable “normal” hardships which life occasionally brings. The same is true today. It is necessary for us to be prepared for the difficulties which come our way, whether they are the result of being faithful followers of the Lord, or just a part of ordinary life. Certainly one can be strengthened and encouraged by the support of family, friends, and the parish community. But our ultimate support comes from God. Faith and trust in God doesn’t do away with hardships. Faith and trust in God enable and strengthen us to persevere.
The recently (illicitly) released draft from the US Supreme Court seems to indicate that soon the Roe vs. Wade decision from 1973 will be set aside. This will not make abortion illegal, but will return to the various states the legal authority to restrict, ban entirely, or expand even further the "right" to abortion. Of course, a just law would forbid entirely the killing of the unborn, who are by definition the most vulnerable and innocent. Radical pro- abortionists have defaced Catholic churches and have even entered them during Mass to protest. If protesters should perpetrate such a sacrilege in our church, I advise that the men of our parish should, without any show of violence, quietly and firmly escort such protesters outside.
May God bless you!
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