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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monday of the sixth week of Easter

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.

We are treated to a wonderful story today from the Acts of the Apostles. Paul and Timothy seek a quiet place to pray and rest. They leave the city of Philippi and head to the river. On its banks they plan to relax and reflect upon their travels.

However, they are not the only ones who are at the river. They meet some women on the riverbank who are probably washing their clothes. Paul takes the opportunity to testify to Jesus and one of the women, Lydia, is moved by the Spirit to accept Paul’s witness. She even imposes upon Paul and Timothy to stay with her by saying, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home.”

Jesus knew that he would not be with his disciples after his resurrection and ascension into heaven. He prepared the apostles to testify on his behalf by sending them the Holy Spirit because his message needed to be passed on to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The Holy Spirit prompted Paul and the other apostles as to where to go and what to say. They healed many who were sick and boldly preached the good news and God’s willingness to forgive our sins.

We too have received of the same Spirit. The Spirit leads us to testify to the truth by carrying out our simple duties as followers of Christ. Keeping our Sundays free to worship, for example, is an impactful way to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. Finding people in our community who need our help is another. Studying the Bible and meditating on the words of Jesus is another essential component of maturing our faith. These are but a few of the ordinary ways to respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and spread peace in our world.

Making the effort to come to church on Sundays is not a small matter. It is much easier to succumb to the pressures of work or even family commitments that tend to crowd out our practice of the faith. How much more comfortable it is to stay at home, to rest and read the large Sunday newspaper. For families with children, it is even more difficult to make the Sunday Mass commitment. Sundays are days for sporting events that often include hours of travel. Yet our presence at the Eucharist–whether on Saturday night or Sunday morning–is essential and a clear way of saying that we believe, that we have a relationship with our God, that the Spirit has forged a bond within us.

All roads lead to prayer. Paul and Timothy’s example of finding a quiet place to pray and reflect is a wonderful example for our time. And getting involved in our parish community provides us with the opportunity to meet some modern -day Lydias. Staying on the road of prayer and public worship allows our faith to be strengthened and, over time, we may have the privilege of setting another person on the path to Christ.

The Holy Spirit begins the work in us. All we need to do is to be attentive and to show up when needed.

Father Kevin MacDonald, C.Ss.R.