Year A: Second Sunday of Easter
Second Reading: Peter 1: 3-9
St Peterís letter opens with a declaration of certainty - that because Jesus has been raised from the dead then we have nothing to fear. Our inheritance is safe in Godís hands - and we ourselves will be kept safe until the end of time.
Of course, life for the early Christians was no easier than life is for us now. In fact, it was considerably worse as suspicion and persecution began to take hold. It may be worth looking to the countries where people of Faith are oppressed to see what the early Christians were up against. They were a small minority set against the might of Jewish Law and Roman rule. By standing against the powers of the day, they were inevitably targets for its power - and the abuses of that power. Looking at the world today - we see other minorities targeted because they refuse to conform. We see ordinary people suffering extraordinarily and wonder why they carry on. At the back of our minds, we may wonder - if my Faith cost that much, would I be able to persevere?
St Peter helps us to see what that suffering can mean for us. He speaks of our Faith being tested like gold. He is not speaking about the kind of test that leads to failure - although then as now - some people do fail. The testing he means is that of gold being melted - and cooled - repeatedly. Each time, a little more of the impurity is skimmed off - and the gold becomes purer. The fire which is so destructive to other things serves to purify the richest of metals.
So - for the Christians to whom St Peter was writing - and for us now, words to encourage endurance. Our glory will, he says, be all the greater because we belong to the vast number of people who have not seen Jesus but believe in Him and love Him. Our faith is the faith commended by Jesus in the Gospel: Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.
St Peter says that it is our faith that allows us to be filled with a joy that cannot be described because we are sure of our destiny - eternal life gained for us by the salvation of our souls.
What does it mean for me?
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