Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Where Are We?
This week, we conclude our journey through the Acts of the Apostles. Literally, throughout Easter, we have worked our way through this Spirit-driven testament of the early church. So, where are we now?
Today, we are in Ephesus, a city and port on the western coast of Asia Minor. Sounds nice. But this is no vacation trip. We are on mission with the apostle Paul, now his third. But how did we get here? Here’s some of the story.
From Acts 1-9
After Jesus was lifted up, the Spirit came and compelled Peter and the Eleven to preach in Jerusalem. Signs and wonders accompanied their words, which cut to the heart. Of course, they got in trouble with the law. In and out of prison twice, they tried to stop them. But the community of believers kept growing. Seven reputable men were chosen to serve the poor, while the Twelve administered the word.
Stephen, one of the Seven, was martyred, which Saul, the Pharisee, supported. A persecution broke out, and we were forced into Judea and Samaria. But we kept on proclaiming the gospel. We followed Philip, another of the Seven, who proclaimed Jesus to an Ethiopian eunuch. Later, we heard of Saul’s conversion, and now he is proclaiming Jesus as Messiah! The church was then at peace.
From Acts 10-17
But then, the Spirit compelled us even more. A vision was given to Peter and Cornelius (a Gentile God-fearer), and made us realize that God wanted us to preach even to Gentiles! In Antioch, where they first called us Christians, Saul and Barnabas were chosen by the Spirit to go on a mission. After some time, they reported back to Antioch but were called on to Jerusalem because of a disagreement on a Jewish practice for Gentile believers. But after all, James and the church decided not to burden the non-Jews with the Jewish practice.
Later, Paul (Saul’s Greco-Roman name) went on a second mission, but this time with Silas. In Galatia, they befriended a disciple named Timothy, who went along with them. In Macedonia, they got into some trouble with the locals, who beat them and put them in jail. But God rescued them by his strong hand. They even converted the jailer who was guarding them! If that wasn’t enough, they kept going, even to Athens where Paul gave testimony to the resurrection in the Areopagus.
There’s much more to the story, but I can’t tell you now. We have to keep going!
What is your story? How did you get to where you are? Can you see the hand of God in your life? Knowing where we are and how we got here will help us on our Christian mission.
Reflection by Br. Luke Kral, OSB