READINGS for 2009-05-20
Then Paul stood up… and said… – Acts 17:22
St. Paul is known to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He preached to non-Jews about the death and resurrection of Jesus that led to the establishment of many Christian Churches. That could have been very scary. Imagine telling non-Jews about a Messiah who is a Jew.
Like St. Paul, St. Bernardine of Siena, during the 15th century, preached about Jesus to a warring nation. His message and eloquence led many Italians to flock to confession “like ants.”
As for me, even if I’ve been a speaker for decades, I still get scared when I’m on stage. What keeps me going is the belief I have a God who will not allow me to be put to shame.
These are the things that I tell myself as I proclaim God’s Word:
Before I speak: “I am a child of the Most High God.”
During the talk: “I am blessing people right now.”
After the talk: “I made them remember God.”
I also use these lines as my prayers. This is also my prayer for you: May you make others remember God. Arun Gogna
Say this every day: “Today, I will make others remember God.”
May people remember You, Lord, when they see me today.
It seems that Paul was unable to begin a lasting community in Athens; from the evidence of today’s text, he tried, but it seems that he did not succeed in everything he set out do. And here we learn an important lesson — that working for the Kingdom of God, indeed being His disciple, is all about taking risks. We will rarely know for sure how a particular project will turn out, but we will never find out unless we give it a try.
Acts 17:15. 22 -18:1
15 After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. 22 Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. 26 He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, 27 so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. 28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 29 Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. 30 God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent 31 because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.” 32 When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” 33 And so Paul left them. 34 But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them. 18: 1 After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
P S A L M
Psalm 148:1-2. 11-12. 13. 14
R: Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
1 Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights; 2 Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his hosts. (R) 11 Let the kings of the earth and all peoples, the princes and all the judges of the earth, 12 young men too, and maidens, old men and boys. (R) 13 Praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. (R) 14 He has lifted up the horn of his people. Be this his praise from all his faithful ones, from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia. (R)
G O S P E L
The complete truth must be the goal of our lives. Too often in our world things go wrong because we pursue half-truths or worse, complete and utter lies. The problem is that sin and the world are very capable of dressing up half-truths and lies in such attractive clothing that they begin to seem credible and even desirable to us. We need to pray for discernment, and specifically the help of the Holy Spirit, to discern that which is worth following and that which we should dismiss as unworthy of our attention.
12 Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 13 But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
think: We need to pray for discernment, and specifically the help of the Holy Spirit, to discern that which is worth following and that which we should dismiss as unworthy of our attention.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 8-12
WhAt is the complete truth?
When Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is going to lead us into the complete truth, He means that it is the Holy Spirit who will reveal to us all that we need to know about God in order to become His disciples. The Holy Spirit, the greatest witness tothe love between God the Father and God the Son, has been sent to us to draw us into that relationship. It is here that we will experience not just the fullness of truth, but the fullness of life as well.
We have to realize that without the help and grace of the Holy Spirit, most of our human endeavors will not reach their full potential, but fall short of what they promise. I am sure that none of us wants second best; in order to get the best out of life we will have to be willing to invite the Holy Spirit to lead us there. The Holy Spirit’s intimate knowledge of God means that He can do this for us, indeed wants to do this for us. It can even be seen as part of His nature to do this.
It is not easy for us to understand the nature of the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity. What is more important is that we choose to surrender our lives to the call to become a part of that relationship as best we can. This is what the saints are referring to when they talk about coming into union with God. Do we want this for ourselves or not? Do we want to be part of the “greatest team” ever? Or do we want to struggle against sin and the powers and attractions of the world all our lives? Perhaps we will never be without some level of struggle in our lives, but if we align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, at least we will never be alone in them!
God has given us the Holy Spirit as our power and strength, our truth and encouragement. It is the Holy Spirit who can ensure that we never stray too far from the path that leads to eternal life. Is this what we want? Then you know what you have to do — surrender to the grace of God and the Spirit He sends us as His advocate. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Have I ever really reflected upon the role of truth in my life? Have I taken the time to try and sort out the truth from the fiction in all that I see and hear each day?
Lord Jesus, grant me the wisdom and grace to be able to discern truth from falsity as I seek to follow You as Your disciple.
St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest, pray for us.
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