No doubt about it, the church today faces many obstacles. But imagine for a moment some of the obstacles that faced the first generation of Christians.
Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the apostles were still ill prepared for the task of preaching the gospel and building the church. They didn’t have any catechism or papal encyclicals to guide them. They had no church buildings, no retreat centers, and no canon law. They were pioneers on a brand new venture.
And as the stoning of St. Stephen illustrates, they also faced tremendous hostility. Still, even as opposition mounted, even as violence forced many in the Jerusalem church to scatter into other territories, the apostles kept on preaching and the church kept on growing. Times were hard, but the brothers and sisters remained determined to stay faithful to the Lord and to each other. They even rejoiced when they were persecuted (Acts 5:41)!
How could this possibly be the case? Why did…
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