The Rise of Christianity

The Rise of Christianity

Even with all of the technology and means we have at our fingertips to connect with and be present to others, there are so many people in this world, in our families, workplaces, even in our faith communities who feel isolated, lonely, even afraid of life.  Fear is a debilitating emotion.  Sometimes all it takes is to know that another is present, even if we aren’t really with them, to eliminate our fear.  

After the Resurrection, when Christ says to the apostles in the upper room – Do not fear – those words are also directed at each of us.  Last year after Easter I read a movie review of a newly released film entitled “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”  The author of the review admitted right up front that she went to the viewing with very low expectations.  Faith-based films she claimed rarely did well, had tremendously low budgets, often weak scripts, and less well-known actors.  She claimed the film lacked the historical excitement of the period – no Nero, no burning of Rome.   Yet to her surprise she found it, in her words, “effective and affecting.”  

The writer-producer chose one aspect to explain how and why Saint Paul fostered the Rise of Christianity so immediately and overwhelmingly in the 1st century AD It was simply because the Christians took care of each other, and of their neighbors too.  They took seriously Jesus’ directives in Matt. 25: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, welcome the stranger.  This is what made the difference. This is the reason why Christianity could grow from 2500 followers in 67 AD, to nearly 34 million by 350 AD!  Oh – and their willingness to forgive no doubt had a large impact on that growth as well.   

By our hope iChrist’s resurrectionand our actions of care for others we have the ability to convey the message:  “Do Not be Afraid. (words in one of the most popular hymns of our time)!  No one – not our family or friends, the young children we raise or teach, those with whom we work, those we serve in our food pantries or parishes, those to whom we bring healing in our hospitals, or the homeless we assist with food, shelter or backpacks – all should know by the presence of Christ within us that we are with themthat they are NOT alone, and need not be afraid.  Let our hands be God’s hands of care.   

Author: Sr. Susan

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