Scripture: Lectionary # 293. Acts 17:15.22-18:1. Psalm
148:1-2.11-12.12-14.14. John 16:12-15
Paul is a citizen of three worlds during the first century. We may
conjecture his life from 10-15 A.D. to his martyrdom in 65-67 A.D. He knew
Hebrew as a Jew and an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin, he was well
versed in Greek as we now and enjoy his official letters to the Churches,
and he also was a Roman citizen. He could speak with the Academics
(Athens) and was with the Roman people at the end of his life thus versed
in Latin. The selectin from Acts shows him passionately preaching the
mystery of the Unknown God to them who, of course, is Jesus for Paul and
for us. He cites their poets in order to gain their attention. Some
listen; some do not. Listening is a part of the ministry of Christians who
are sensitive to listening to others and who are focused upon listening to
"The only way to know God, the only way to know the other, is to listen.
Listening is reaching out into that unknown other self, surmounting your
walls and theirs; listening is the beginning of understanding, the first
exercise of love.
None of us listen enough, do we, dear? (Fr. Joe is speaking). It's a
wonderful thing to do. You almost always hear something you didn't expect.
We must listen because we are so often wrong in our certainties. When we
pass a motion in the chaotic debating chamber of our heads, it's never
completely right, or even, most of the time, half right. The only way to
edge closer to the truth is to listen with complete openness, bringing to
the process no preconceptions, nothing prepared." (taken from the book,
"Father Joe: the man who saved my soul" by Tony Hendra, page181).
Those few who listened to Paul became Christians and were baptized. Others
listened partially and wanted Paul to speak again on the resurrection.
Though his results were meager in Athens, Paul continued to move on and to
preach Jesus' crucified and resurrected. He was convinced and impassioned
by the inner drive and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He spoke boldly and
courageously. This is the message that Jesus had given to the apostles and
that we are privy today in reading the short excerpt from John 16:12-15.
Paul follows the apostles in speaking the truth about Jesus with burning
love. He is filled with the fire of love and the finger of God through the
Spirit working within him night and day. He always carries the Good News
to the Gentiles and reveals who Jesus is through his tantalizing letters
and epistles. He knew well that Jesus was for him the way, the truth, and
All three persons of the Trinity are within the passage we have from John.
The fulness of the Godhead is present now in all of the apostles and Paul
in particular as we continue to listen to the Acts of the Apostles. Let us
truly have the ears of our hearts open to God's holy words heard in Luke's,
John's, and Paul's voices. Amen. Alleulia.
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