Every day during the Easter season, we have read at Mass from the Acts of the Apostles. Might seem anti-climactic to trail off, like we do today, with St. Paul still in custody. It’s not just our Lectionary readings that end anti-climactically. The book itself ends that way.
But: in point of fact, the great climax of the New Testament actually does come in today’s first reading at Holy Mass. Roman procurator Porcius Festus says, of the prisoner:
His accusers…had some issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died, but who Paul claimed was alive. (Acts 25:19)
He is alive. It changes our whole point-of-view. That’s what it means to participate in the life of the Church: to stand with St. Paul in this claim.
We Christians don’t hate the world. We just see it in a different light. We make a pilgrimage here. We make our way to a goal. Death does not mean the end of everything. It means the end of strife. Hopefully, it means the beginning of glory (or at least purification for glory.)
Now, it’s not every day that we wake up to find the diaconate in the news. Fifteen years ago today, I made my public promise of celibacy and was ordained a deacon. Celibacy doesn’t mean hating the world, either. But it does mean that you see it in a different light.
Most professional men and women meet people with the hope of some future interactions. “Let’s stay in touch. Maybe we can do business together someday!” Networking.
We priests meet a lot of people just shortly before their deaths. I have met a good 100 people within hours of their deaths.
Let’s do business someday! The business of glorifying God in the kingdom of heaven, for all eternity.