While sitting down with a cup of tea to write this post, I noticed a message on the tea bag label: “Your choices will change the world.”
In his mission to the ends of the earth, St. Paul frequently made choices that changed the world around him and which continue to change our world today. In fact, in the Book of Acts 16:22-38 where Paul was imprisoned, I can count five occasions where he chose to stay faithful to his mission, despite the bleak conditions around him.
Instead of giving in to hopelessness or escaping when he had the chance, St. Paul used his grim prison experience to advance his mission. Given the chance to flee, he stayed behind, not only to keep the jailer from taking his own life, but to help influence the jailer’s eternal life with the Word of God and the Sacrament of Baptism. He didn’t think twice about his own needs because of his resolve to preach the Gospel to every soul in need of healing.
God rescued St. Paul time and time again simply because he chose to be faithful in the face of his physical and emotional sufferings. This must be our choice as well, for we find favor with God when, instead of despairing or running away from our own trials, we go on with a hopeful approach. Like St. Paul who, after being stripped, beaten and imprisoned, chose to pray and sing hymns to God while staked to his prison cell, we must trust that when we call to the Lord, He will answer us and build up strength within us. Every day, we as Catholic Christians have a choice to make.
The Lord completes what He has done for us through our own catechetical mission to the world. He graces us so that we too may share the message St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)