The first reading today is something of an eye-opener for those who seriously consider the events in the lives of the apostles and others very close to the Risen Lord. Of course the readings of the Resurrection Season are often expressions of wonder and awe as we consider the appearances of Jesus to his friends.
Perhaps we might liken these days to those days after Christmas in the lives of children. After a certain amount of time with Christmas trees, lights, gifts, special meals, visits of friends and so on, there comes the day when our youngsters are taught that "everyday is Christmas" does not mean gifts continue to come their way. Life is different. We return to the daily way of life in which we confront the challenges of life that are not always Christmas.
Adults also experience the return to "de more" which is a Latin phrase that means in the accustomed way of doing things. We return to our daily facing of challenges brought on by the Good News of the Gospel. But, if asked, I wonder, what would individuals answer to the question "What is the meaning of the phrase "the Good News"? Is it something like "de more"? It is as a matter of fact something that we live every day.
In the daily life we live what is this Good News? Some are told that the Good News is God's giving us great abundances if we just do what God wants. I believe that is true. But abundance does not necessarily mean grand and glorious mansions, the latest and most expensive automobiles, fabulous vacations often interspersed throughout the year. The Good News is the gift of God's presence in our lives and the gifts he gives us: his peace despite the difficulties that confront us. Just look at the lives of the early followers of Jesus. Martyrdom came to each of the apostles! Hardly what we would call abundance. Their only gifts of abundance were stones, beatings, jailings, torturing moments. In those moments, however, they learned that in trials and tribulations Jesus was always with them. His abundance love and presence guaranteed them eternal life. He promised much more than the challenges of everyday life.
The events of the apostles in the Acts of the Apostles should be signal to us that God is aware of all that takes place in our lives. He does not abandon us. "My peace I give you." Do we remember this when the going is tough? Do we remember this when sadness and tears marks certain days? Listen carefully to what St. Paul writes in so many of his letter about the presence of God in each person's life. Yes, there is struggle. Yes, there are times of opposition. But, but, but: God is always present to support us with his love and peace.