Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
The Lord’s Will Be Done
We arrived in Jerusalem a few days ago. Some time has passed since we left Miletus and the Ephesian presbyters. We landed at Tyre and stayed with some disciples, who “kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to embark for Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:4) We continued our journey, though, and stopped at Caesarea where Paul was warned again not to go up to Jerusalem. A prophet demonstrated dramatically how he will be bound and handed over to the Gentiles. (see Acts 21:1-8)
“Then Paul replied, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? I am prepared not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’ Since he would not be dissuaded we let the matter rest, saying, ‘The Lord’s will be done.’” (Acts 21:13-14)
When we arrived in Jerusalem, the church greeted us warmly and praised God for what He had done among the Gentiles through Paul.
But they said to him, “Brother, you see how many thousands of believers there are from among the Jews, and they are all zealous observers of the law. They have been informed that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to abandon Moses and that you are telling them not to circumcise their children or to observe their customary practices. What is to be done?” (Acts 21:20-22)
They suggested that he fulfill a custom of the law in the Temple to show the Jerusalem community that he still respects the law. And Paul agreed. Yet, while he was in the Temple, some Jews from abroad, who saw him earlier with a Gentile, supposed that Paul had brought the Gentile into the Temple. The penalty for doing such a thing is death!
They shouted their accusation and stirred up a riot. Crowds gathered. People rushed in. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. They started to kill him. (see Acts 21:24-31)
This is what the Spirit warned him about. Yet, it is the Spirit who is compelling him. And the Spirit is not yet finished with him.
He was rescued from the mob but arrested by the Roman authorities. Before they took him away, he spoke his testimony to the same crowds who were trying to kill him. They listened but did not want to hear. The Romans took him back but handed him over to the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. (see Acts 21:32-22:30)
And what happens next is what we hear in today’s first reading…
The story of St. Paul is worth our pondering and meditation. We get to know the man behind the Letters, upon which much of Christian theology is based. His life and teaching give example of what it means to follow Christ.
Reflection by Br. Luke Kral, OSB