Are you familiar with concept of karma? It's most often summed up in the phrase "What goes around comes around." It means we get payback for things that we do in a similar way. For example, if someone is violent, they will often be met with violence.
While karma is not a Christian philosophy, I've found it to often be fairly accurate. And today's first reading is an example of that. Paul, (then Saul) was there for the stoning of St. Stephen. Now, we don't know if he actually threw any stones, but he consented to it. In today's reading from Acts 14, we see Paul being stoned, to the point where the people thought him dead. Of course, he wasn't, and he continued on in his ministry.
Later in the reading, Paul and Barnabas tell the disciples, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." I find all this similar to my story. Aside from the fact that I was a stoner and often stoned (read: high on drugs), I used to make fun of Christians. I suspect that now I am the butt of others' scorn for being a Christian. You know how I respond? Praise God!
Father, thank you for the hardships we must undergo go enter into your Kingdom. May we praise you for the privilege of being persecuted. Amen.
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The simple truth of this teaching to me is we must experience what we have created in order to understand and grow from our mistakes, as well as give God glory for showing us what is right and good! Knowledge and repentance frees us to fully accept God’s grace! Thank you Gus for your show and wise words!