Sixth Sunday of Easter
Text: I Peter 3:13-22
Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you – not as removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Therefore Peter added this clause, If the will of God be so. For in these words he reminds us, that is we suffer unjustly, it is not by chance, but according to the divine will; and he assumes, that God wills nothing or appoints nothing but for the best reason. Hence the faithful have always this comfort in their miseries, that they know that they have God as their witness, and that they also know that they are led by him to the contest, in order that they may under his protection give a proof of their faith.
~John Calvin (Commentary on the Catholic Epistles / I Peter 3:17)
Holy God, we pray that when we face times of trial you grant us your grace and peace to listen for your still small voice. We know that when we stumble you are still there with an outstretched hand. We know that when we have doubts or questions you are patient and wait for us to return to the fold. Holy God, we ask that on this day you be with the martyrs and saints of this world who still suffer at the hand of unjust powers. May we be given the strength to resist and confront them as we preserve and honor the image of God that resides in each and every one of us. For we know that you sent your Son Jesus Christ into the world to be a witness and light for women and men in times and in all places. Amen.