"ain't it grand to be a christian?"
"It was in Antioch that the disciples were called Christians for the first time." —Acts 11:26
The first time "Christian" was used to describe Jesus' followers, it meant all of the following:
- those who believed in "the good news of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:20-21),
- those "converted to the Lord" (Acts 11:21),
- those who had remained "firm in their commitment to the Lord" (Acts 11:23), and
- those instructed in the Scriptures possibly each day (see Acts 17:11) for a whole year (Acts 11:26).
What does the word "Christian" mean today? The word is used to refer to the baptized, the saved, churchgoers, people who pray, or those who have some Christian values. While all of these things are part of being a Christian, they aren't enough to make us Christians by the standards of Acts 11.
Are you a Christian? By whose standards? Do you want to be a Christian according to Acts 11? Start by renewing your baptismal promises. Repent and go to Confession. Give your whole life to the Lord. Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you a desire to meditate on the Word of God day and night (see Ps 1:2). Abide in God's Word every day for a year (see Jn 8:31). Be a Christian.
Prayer: Father, I want to live up to my name. Make me realize it is "grand to be a Christian."
Promise: "My Father is greater than all, in what He has given Me, and there is no snatching out of His hand. The Father and I are One." —Jn 10:29-30
Praise: St. Peter cured the paralytic Aeneas in the town of Lydda, and all of its inhabitants "were converted to the Lord" (Acts 9:35). Some 250 years later, St. George, a citizen of Lydda, bore additional fruit from Peter's healing by giving up his life to witness to his faith in Jesus.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 2, 2012
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