Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

(Acts 6:8-15; John 6:22-29)

When Jesus tells the Jews that they must believe in him to do the works of God, he does not mean that they only are to be baptized.  He is inviting them to trust in him and not in their own capabilities, much less in the strengths of others.  This does not mean that they will refuse others’ help or that they will not help themselves.  It does mean that they will live by his commands, imitate his ways, and pray to him for assistance.  It means acting like Frans van der Lugt, the Dutch Jesuit who was murdered in Syria last month.

Fr. Van der Lugt might have left the town of Homs with other expatriates, but he decided to stay with the remaining Christian community who could not leave.  He became one with the people after fifty years of speaking Arabic and creating a space where Christians and Muslims might come together.  The people loved him, but the militants evidently saw him as symbol of the government’s collaboration with the West and killed him.

When we pray to God, “…lead us not into temptation…,” we are asking the Almighty to spare us situations like Fr. Van der Lugt’s.  But if we find ourselves in such a predicament, then let us ask Christ for courage to give of ourselves for the sake of others.  He will indicate what must be done and take care of us no matter what happens.