Acts 14: 1-2, 22-29
The same thing occurred in Iconium, where Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed.
When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.
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.
Guided and renewed by the Spirit
When going through difficult times, there’s the tendency to want to go back to the “good old days.” But there are two features about the good old days: first, they were never as “good” as we remember them; second, there’s no going back. In a church that finds so much beauty in tradition, we Catholics can be nostalgic too.
Today, we’re reminded that the early church faced its own challenges. The debate over circumcision was serious… would the church survive such disagreement? What rules for membership would they agree on? Thankfully, the apostles and elders didn’t look back. Instead, they looked to the future by relying on the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, for direction. Their trust was not in vain.
While disagreements and challenges remain in our Church today, the invitation is to look to the future, to trust in the Holy Spirit, whom God sent in Jesus’ name to guide and renew.
—Travis Russell, SJ is a member of the Jesuits West Province. He will be ordained a priest on June 8, 2019. His first assignment will be at St. Ignatius parish in San Francisco.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.
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