St. Paul at Thessaloniki, Philippi and Athens

We’re reading about the journeys of St. Paul from the Acts of the Apostles this week of the Easter season. Luke carefully notes the various places Paul and his companions set up churches as they go from Jerusalem to Rome. The gospel must be preached everywhere in the world, Jesus said. 

Paul’s journeys are often called travel journeys and our Bibles supply maps to help us follow them. But Paul’s journeys are more than journeys of travel; Luke sees the gospel being proclaimed to the world in many dimensions.

Look at the accounts this week. On Monday Paul speaks to women at their place of prayer along the water in Thessaloniki and he invites Lydia–or rather she invited herself–-to join him in his mission. Just as Luke does in his gospel, he wants us to see that women are meant to hear the Good News and have a role in bringing its message to others.

On Tuesday Paul and Silas are thrown into prison at Philippi. (Acts 17:22-34) Not only is the jailor and his household converted to the gospel, but Luke tells us the prisoners were listening as they prayed in the night. And so, as he does in his gospel, Luke points out that the poor must hear the gospel. Most of these prisoners will never get to one of Paul’s house churches, but they must hear the gospel all the same.  

On Wednesday, Paul speaks to the intellectuals in Athens.The results of his preaching don’t seem promising, only a handful seem to respond. But the gospel has to be brought to places like Athens. The gospel has to be brought into the world of learning and science. It has to be proclaimed to those searching for the truth.

The missionary journeys are more than journeys from place to place, setting up churches. They bring the gospel to the world in all its dimensions,

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