The crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth:
it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go,
the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go,
I will send him to you.
And when he comes,
he will show the world how wrong it was,
about sin, and about who was in the right,
and about judgement:
about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me;
about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more;
about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’
He will show the world how wrong it was about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement.
Almost everyone would find their convictions ridiculous or against their moral and ethical standards because they do not accept the Catholic Church’s teachings. Since they do not follow the Holy Spirit, they cannot see the truth as they are very much terrified of the truth. To them, truth is often unpleasant and unbearable to accept because they prefer to stay in their own comfort zones that have long been their ‘safe havens’. Should they face a sudden change in their paths, they would find it uncomfortable and would do anything to prevent change such as surrendering a part of their money to the poor, or lending a hand to a neighbour.
However, we do not have to fear the world because, according to the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit has been tirelessly prompting everyone to God, no matter who they are. In God’s eyes, everyone is His child, baptized or not, because He is the creator of everything in Heaven and on earth. In short, we are all siblings. The Catholic Church has emphasized that it is never easy to go to Hell because the Holy Spirit will keep calling everyone through the cooperation of the Guardian Angels all the time, till the people change their minds when they eventually achieve the realization of the true perspective of life.
I, for one, used to loathe my parents because of our language and communication barrier. They did not bother to get connected with me when I was young. As a native youth, I was upset with them for not being able to hear me, and I failed to understand their difficulties because of their low education and busy schedules. Technology played an important for my mum and myself. The main issue was that we failed to connect with each other. For example, I failed to teach my mum how to text me and she was unable to connect with me because of her poor command of English. But now, I have learnt basic Mandarin and I am able to connect with my parents better. As our relationship improved, I started to appreciate them and could even feel their love and joy. When they knew that I was doing well in school, they were overjoyed. That was when I felt the satisfaction. It was literally the best feeling I ever had in my life.
My story illustrates how the Holy Spirit led my family towards love and, ultimately, to God; for God is love. Despite our differences and different gifts, the Holy Spirit has brought us together as a community for our God, who is the One Lord of all and everything. I have confidence that God will lead my entire family and everyone to the Catholic Church, that bears all the teachings and truths of the Lord Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord is always there waiting to catch us, no matter how wretched we feel about ourselves. He is a loving God full of compassion and mercy, ever willing to enfold us in His arms so that as His true sons and daughters, we will never fall by the wayside. I know I have to trust in Him completely to keep my group together, united in the bonds of His undying love for each and every one of us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Michael Goo)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the gift of sense of belonging in us that we may be able to coordinate the unity of the communities we are involved in for You have called us to be peacemakers. Through your Love, strengthen our union with each other for we share one Body of Christ that glorifies You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of love in our communities.