MAY 23 Mon Easter Weekday Acts 16:11-15/Jn 15:26—16:4a
24 Tue Easter Weekday Acts 16:22-34/Jn 16:5-11
25 Wed Easter Weekday [St Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church;
Saint Gregory VII, Pope; Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin]
Acts 17:15, 22—18:1/Jn 16:12-15
26 Thu THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD
Solemnity Acts 1:1-11/Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23/Lk 24:46-53
27 Fri Easter Weekday [St Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop] Acts 18:9-18/Jn 16:20-23 (
28 Sat Easter Weekday Acts 18:23-28/Jn 16:23b-28
29 SUN SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Acts 7:55-60/Rv 22:12-14, 16-17, 20/Jn 17:20-26
We’re reading about the journeys of St. Paul from the Acts of the Apostles this week of the Easter season. Luke notes the various places Paul and his companions set up churches as they go from Jerusalem to Rome. Paul’s journeys are often called travel journeys; there are maps in bibles to help follow him from place to place. The gospel must be preached everywhere in the world, Jesus said.
But for Luke Paul’s journeys are more than travel journeys; he 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 invites herself–-to join him in his mission. Just as he does in his gospel, Luke calls us to remember 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 and sang 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 are not 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.
On Thursday and Friday the readings tell us that Paul after his rejection at Athens, gets a better reception in Corinth, the tough seaport not far from Athens, but worlds away from that proud self city. “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.” Jesus says to Paul in a vision. This year the Solemnity of the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday.
In the reading from Acts on Saturday, Luke reminds us that Paul had great people with him like Priscilla and Aquila, the wife and husband, who instruct Apollos, a good speaker but weak in his theology. “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” Some time ago I told a cousin of mine recently who wasn’t sure about a sermon she heard in church. “You may be right and he’s wrong.”
The missionary journeys are more than Paul’s journeys from place to place, setting up churches. They meant to bring the gospel to the world in all its dimensions.