Acts 13:14, 43-52
But they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. When the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Delighted by God
We imagine the delight on the faces of the Gentiles as Paul and Barnabas preached. We imagine their faces lighting up, their hearts beating a little faster when they hear the Good News for the first time in the streets and in the synagogues. The Good News that God became human in Jesus, that this Jesus was a tender force of welcoming love and healing power, no matter the status, race, gender or health of the person before him. The Good News that Jesus humbly lived and died with us, but that this death wasn’t a dead end but an opening up back into the loving, eternal embrace from which we came. The Gentiles were delighted because God, by the message of Paul and Barnabas, was opening up the possibilities of this Good News to them, too – and so to us still today.
What delights me most about God’s promise for me?
Especially in these weeks of Easter,
Your Good News spreads so quickly,
Racing across the lands and jumping from heart to heart,
Reigniting our faith in you,
Reigniting our hope in humanity,
and reigniting our love for one another and for you,
the source of every faith, hope and love-
Delight our hearts,
Help us to savor this Good News as it arrives to us on the lips of our neighbor,
On the proclaimed words of the Gospel,
And in the profound and peaceful silences of our most prayerful moments.
Help us then to be the next link in the chain,
Ourselves the Pauls and Barnabas’ of today,
Letting the Good News run through us to its next and waiting recipient.
May your Easter love continue to grow, O Lord!
—Fr. Garrett Gundlach, SJ