Mass Reading & Meditation for April 19, 2013
Meditation: Acts 9:1-20
3rd Week of Easter
“Go … and ask … for a man from Tarsus named Saul.” But Ananias replied … (Acts 9:11, 13)
First off, let’s reflect on what Ananias didn’t do. Consider these two imaginary scenarios.
“But Ananias replied” … not one word to God. Instead, he told himself, Wow, I must be imagining things. God would never send me on such an impossible mission. Maybe I need a vacation—relax, lighten up, have some fun.Or …
“But Ananias replied,” No way, Lord! Saul has blood on his hands. I have a wife and children to think about. It wouldn’t be responsible to put myself in harm’s way. I’m no evangelist, either. You’d better find another messenger.
If Ananias had responded in either of these ways, we would understand. Even prophets like Jonah and Jeremiah tried to wriggle out of their missions. And sometimes, so do we. But fortunately for us, Ananias took a constructive approach that we can apply to our own challenging calls from God. It boils down to three elements:
Talk to God. Instead of running away or tuning out, Ananias presented his objections honestly and straightforwardly (Acts 9:13-14). The all-knowing God didn’t really need to be informed about Saul’s ruthless ways, but Ananias needed to express what he felt. So do we.
Hear God out. Once we’ve poured out our fears, reservations, and questions, it’s time to listen. Jesus answered Ananias by revealing Saul’s conversion from persecutor to “chosen instrument” for evangelization (Acts 9:15). Even though this outcome seemed highly unlikely, Ananias believed God and let his mind be changed. That’s our challenge, too.
Embrace God’s plan. Ananias could have gone to Saul grudgingly, the way we do when our hearts aren’t in it. He could have gone resentfully. (Lord, I’m more deserving. Why not raise me up to be your great apostle?) But Ananias caught the vision and gave himself to it completely. We sense his zeal and generous spirit in his words of address, spoken from the heart: not “Saul, you sinner,” or even just, “Saul,” but “Saul, my brother”(Acts 9:17). What an encouragement to us all!
“Lord Jesus, there’s something you’re asking me to do, and I’m struggling with it. Can we talk?”
Psalm 117:1-2; John 6:52-59