Doing Good
6th Sunday of Easter (A)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

The second reading from the first letter of Peter gives this advice, “And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.” (1Pt. 3:17). These words of consolation were written at a time when the first Christians were being persecuted. False rumors were being spread about their practices. The Jews considered them as a separatist sect. The Greeks and the Romans who sought pleasure, leisure and philosophy couldn’t quite understand their faith and moral standards. The early believers were counter-cultural in lifestyle. The letter of Peter counsels the believers to “do only what is right.” Also, to respectfully explain things to people who ask “so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring” (v.16).

Action starter: What is the good thing that is waiting for you to do?

The early Christians must be making quite an impression on people who were observing their behavior. One of the early descriptions of Christians was, “See, how they love one another.” Their faith in Jesus overflowed into the way they treated one another and the way they conducted their lives. They might not have consciously decided to make an impact on people around them but the difference was noticeable. There was something strange about them. They were doing good.

Even in our times, people who do good may be looked upon as strange. When a person helps an ailing neighbor, gives a truthful testimony despite threats, refuses to accept bribes, some people shake their heads, wondering. The question that comes to mind is, “What is in it for them?” Or as we say in Filipino, “Ano’ng mapapala mo diyan?” Indeed doing good can seem strange, especially when one does it not in view of any reward but because it is the right thing to do. Honestly, when you watch or read the news about a taxi driver returning to the owner a half-million worth of jewelry he forgot in the car, what is your initial reaction? Do you admire the driver or do you shake your head and ask, “Why did he do that? Sayang”.

Men and women of principles seem to be joining the rare species. In a cultural environment that has become functional and profit-oriented and where everything has a price, doing good is not an easy thing to do. For this reason, we need help. The Gospel tells us where that help comes from. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, Advocate, Guide, and Dynamo. The Spirit of the Lord is the source of our inner strength. The Lord Jesus says, “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom my Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you” (Jn. 14: 26).

The Lord understands our weakness and so He sent us the Holy Spirit as our Helper. Consider the Spirit as a good teacher. The student has to open himself up to the guiding hand of the teacher. If the student refuses to come to class or practice the exercises, the teacher cannot help him discover and hone his hidden talents and potentials. A good teacher can do wonders with an intellectually challenged student who is interested to learn. It is impossible to teach a student who does not want to learn.

For the Spirit of the Lord to work in us and help us maximize our potential for doing good, we have to be open to His guiding hand.