Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 19:1-8; John 16:29-33)
Chinese Christians converted during the intense missionary activity one hundred years ago kept the faith despite decades of persecution. They may have been baptized, but many of them at least were denied regular administration of the sacraments. They are like the disciples of Jesus who meet Paul at Ephesus in today’s first reading.
It is surmised that these people knew the Lord before he was crucified and rose from the dead. They might have been among the throngs who listened to his words or perhaps came to him individually for healing. However, they did not receive the Holy Spirit, the gift of the resurrected Christ. Their following of Jesus was persistent as now it is roughly twenty years after his mission was completed. Nevertheless, these disciples lacked zest which the reading indicates is bestowed with baptism in the form of speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Despite difficulty in manifesting it, we have been given the Holy Spirit. It moves us to care for others as it guides us to salvation. We should not be reluctant to testify to its presence by proclaiming Christ as our model and goal.