Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 16:22-34; John 16:5-11)
A few years Pope Benedict commented in an interview on the use of condoms. He said that those who use them to prevent the spread of the AIDS virus show the beginnings of evangelical concern. He did not mean to condone the use of condoms, much less to endorse their dissemination to curtail AIDS. He only wanted to indicate the goodwill of those who care enough about their sexual partners that they take measures to protect them from disease. Of course, the best way to stop the spread of AIDS and to develop virtue is for the unmarried to practice sexual abstinence. The pope’s estimation of goodwill may be drawn also from today’s first reading.
The jailer wants to kill himself believing that he has failed in his duty of guarding prisoners. Paul’s and Silas’ chains were unhinged by the earthquake, yet the jailer feels responsible because it happened on his watch. Perhaps he was charged to keep awake the entire night, but more likely he is just super-zealous in his work. At least, he desires to fulfill to carefully discharge his duties. Such a devotion to responsibility makes him a good candidate for entrance into the new Covenant God has established with his people through Jesus. For this reason Paul and Silas show no hesitancy in baptizing them.
Everyone has some positive natural traits that we might notice and compliment in our evangelizing. Grace is said to build upon nature and not to destroy it. We make use of this maxim by finding the good in others and helping them to multiply it by coming to know Jesus.