A. 266: On the contrary, there is nothing "automatic" about the results that come from sharing the cause of our joy, and proclaiming the Good News. There are other key words in today's readings that give a more complete story. Paul and Barnabas had to "strengthen" the spirits of the disciples, and warn them to "persevere" in the faith. They pointed out that Christians must "undergo hardships" to enter God's kingdom. In fact, just two verses before today's reading St. Paul is stoned and almost killed for his efforts to share the Good News (vv. 19-20).
Revelation 21:1-5a (our second reading) points to a future removal of tears, mourning, wailing, pain, and even death, for those who persevere now in daily trials and persecutions. The implication is clear: we now have a firm hope because of the truth of the Resurrection.
The "formula" to make all this come about is simple: follow the "new" commandment of Jesus -- love others just as Jesus loves us (Jn 13:31-35). That means a love beyond simple friendship; it is a love that is self-sacrificing, always seeking the good of the other person. In fact, that is the identity badge of a Disciple of Christ. Jesus places this new command within the context of the Cross ("When Judas had left them…"), very clearly indicating that "doing" the love command may also bring you pain and persecution. The Disciple is called to be faithful, and may not even see the results of his or her labors. But the Disciple trustingly leaves that aspect up to the Holy Spirit.
Know Your Catechism! The "love command" is also called the new "law of the Holy Spirit" (CCC #782; #1972). Jesus is the model of this love, which in turn manifests the love of the Father. We are called to imitate this love (CCC #1823). This is the measure by which we will know if we are carrying out the Father's will (CCC #2822). For reflection: What must I do to become more "giving" in my relationships? Do I really understand what self-sacrifice means?