May 28, 2014
(St. Mary Ann of Jesus of Paredes)
St. Paul, in many ways, was a very persuasive and diplomatic teacher. He was filled with the Spirit of Truth and Understanding, the Spirit of Courage and Wisdom, that Jesus said – all of His disciples would inherit from Him. And we can see these Gifts of the Holy Spirit, today, in Paul’s discourse to the philosophers of Athens.
You see, Paul had already been beaten, imprisoned and exiled from town-after-town that he visited. And yet, he never gave up. So there in Athens, where the people believed in many gods, where the leaders were always attentive to new philosophies and yet were keenly skeptical of frauds, they listened to Paul who sprinkled new life into the emptiness of their own theology.
He taught them that God not only created every one of them, but that He will also be their Judge. And he told them that God’s judgment time was near. And after he was done with all of this persuasive introduction, Paul finally brought up the most controversial topic for the Athenian philosophers, as well as for many people even today: he talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death.
It was the fine-line that separated the open-minded from those with closed and hardened hearts. As Jesus said himself, “they just could not bear it.” Jn 16:12-15
And yet for some of those places, the seeds of conversion were planted. In town-after-town, that Paul had visited, and from which he was hastily banished, he left those seeds of conversion, people, through which the Holy Spirit could begin His work. This is the work of Truth and the work of Love that God has for every one of us, and we have for one another.
You see, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Resurrection of Jesus not only proved His divinity, but it opened up for us – a whole new reason for Hope, a whole new reason for living every day in praise of our God who created us to share His love forever.
And that is what it means to be Christian!
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