May 9, Tuesday of the 5th Week of Easter
Daily Readings: Acts 14:19–28; Gospel of John 14:27-31a
Today's liturgy of the Word of God has an answer and a suggestion for those consecrated men and women who struggle to find ways and means to serve God and His people creatively and with enthusiasm. Making disciples, strengthening the disciples' souls, and encouraging them to continue to live their faith is part and parcel of the lives and ministries of the evangelists and the preachers. Suffering and persecution are necessary. Jesus himself said that the Son of Man must suffer, … (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34).
The First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, part of the first missionary journey, narrates the ordeals faced by St. Paul. The crowd stones Paul and leaves him, assuming he is dead. But he gets up and walks into the city to continue his ministry. Who or what gives him the strength to continue his ministry? This is a relevant question every believer must ask at this juncture. Paul and Barnabas appoint elders in the Church through prayer and fasting. They also entrust the believers to the Lord. The believing community did this with Barnabas and Paul at the beginning of their ministry (cf. Acts 13:3). Thus, the tradition of appointing priests in the early Church continued. It is heartening to see that prayer and fasting accompany appointing the men who matter the most in the Church. Jesus did that before appointing the Twelve (cf. Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-19). The apostles never tire of exclaiming how God opened the door of faith for the Gentiles.
The Gospel Reading continues to narrate his stand to the people who came to inquire about John the Baptizer's (JB) identity. He makes use of the opportunity to introduce Jesus to the world. He calls Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and goes on to add that Jesus is the eternal Word: he “ranks ahead of me because he was before me” (v. 30). JB produced an environment for Jesus to reveal himself to Israel. Yesterday, we spoke of JB’s realistic self-esteem. Today we want to admire his humility, which made him make a statement without any hesitation: “I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal” (v. 27). In the digital and post-truth society in which we live, in the process of self-affirmation and self-esteem, we run the risk of not being able to see the good in others.
There is a tendency to criticize and fail to recognize and appreciate someone for what he or she is. Humility is not a negation of self-love and self-respect. It is not doing navel-gazing (fixating more on myself). It is instead the ability to recognize all creation as excellent. True self-love must allow us to love our neighbors ideally. How beautiful life would be if one could learn this and practice it in our families and our communities!
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.