In all things, Charity

The first reading of this Divine Mercy Sunday comes from the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. It describes an idyllic time in the life of the Early Church, marked by mutual love and respect among the disciples of Christ, where those in need were provided for by the generosity of all, and united in the Eucharist and the proclamation of Word, marveled as the Church grew under the guidance of the Holy Apostles and St Peter and the Apostles.

But we know from a full reading of the Acts of the Apostles that this idyllic start was confronted with many occasions of persecutions from outside the Church and divisions and tensions from inside the Church. And so began the story and pattern of the Church’s pilgrimage of faith until this present day and onto the end of days when the Lord will return in glory.

We will always be persecuted by forces opposed to Christ and the Church. Most often these powers are beyond our control and we must find in the beatitudes meaning in this suffering; for when we are persecuted, then we are blessed. We will also confront internal divisions within the Church, on both a universal and local level. Our ability to respond in charity, understanding, patience and supernatural outlook will help us to confront these times of division with grace, discernment, and renewed trust in God.

In this Easter Season, let us ask the Lord for a renewed sense of obligation to support one another in times of persecution and to seek to heal internal divisions as they arise. May we live our Christian lives according to a maxim St. John XXIII once taught “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.” (Ad Petri Cathedram, 77 (1959)).