Today we celebrate the ultimate victory of the Apostles for their efforts to keep the faith despite their struggles. Herod arrested Peter intending to bring him to trial so as to publicly make fun of him but that very night he was set free by the Angel of God. Even if he would eventually die for the sake of the Gospel, this very incident is proof that when we suffer for the sake of righteousness, we are never alone.

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It is one thing to call a person your friend but a different thing for that person to recognize you as his or her friend. God considers us as His friends but the question is: How many of us relate with God as His true friends? In other words, how many of us are faithful to God’s commandments? How many of us love others as much as God loves us?.

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The election of Saint Mathias whose feast we celebrate today teaches us that no matter how good we are, there would always be someone who can take our place. We have been chosen by God but our election does not mean we have become indispensable. The will of God must be done and the work of God has to continue. If you serve in any capacity in God’s house, avoid pride; be good to people, never think that without you, everything will end.

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Our churches in Africa are packed full not because we are converted Christians but because of the prevailing economic situation of our continent. These souls who ate the loaves and fishes were not believers but spectators. A good number of those who fill up seats in our churches today are just spectators. This explains the stark contradiction between our lives and that of Christ. Should it happen that our continent becomes better economically, this mammoth crowd of spectators will leave and only true Christians will remain.

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If it comes to that point when we have to choose who to obey, let us remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

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God did not prevent the apostles from being arrested but He rescued them from prison. Sometimes, it may look as though our enemies are succeeding but God always has a plan. Be patient. By freeing the apostles from prison, God made it clear to the high priest and his companions that nothing, not even the prison chains can stop the message of salvation from reaching the ends of the earth.

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Like an athlete running with the pole to take the high jump, we must trust God completely even in very difficult moments knowing that when we go up so high to jump, a very soft landing awaits us. Endure! “Sorrow may last in the night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

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