6th Week of Easter: Readings and Feasts

MAY 15 Mon Easter Weekday [ St Isidore] Acts 16:11-15/Jn 15:26—16:4a  16 Tue Easter Weekday Acts 16:22-34/Jn 16:5-11 17 Wed Easter Weekday Acts 17:15, 22—18:1/Jn 16:12-15  18 Thu ASCENSION  Acts 1:1-11/Eph 1:17-23/Mt 28:16-20  19 Fri Easter Weekday Acts 18:9-18/Jn 16:20-23  20 Sat Easter Weekday [St Bernardine of Siena] Acts 18:23-28/Jn 16:23b-28  21 7th SUNDAY OF EASTER Acts 1:12-14/1 Pt 4:13-16/Jn 17:1-11a 

We’re reading about the journeys of St. Paul from the Acts of the Apostles this week of the Easter season. Luke notes the places Paul and his companions set up churches as they go from Jerusalem to Rome. Their journeys are often called travel journeys; bibles have maps following Paul from place to place. The gospel has to be preached everywhere in the world, Jesus said. 

But Paul’s journeys are more than travel journeys for Luke: the gospel is being proclaimed to the world in many dimensions as we see in this week’s accounts. 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 in his gospel, Luke sees women hearing the Good News and bringing its message to others.

On Tuesday Paul and Silas are thrown into prison at Philippi. (Acts 17:22-34) Not only are the jailor and his household converted to the gospel, but Luke notes the prisoners were listening as they prayed and sang in the night. And so, as Luke does in his gospel he points out the poor must hear the gospel. Most of these prisoners will never get to one of Paul’s house churches, but they 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 city. “Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.” Jesus says in a vision. 

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 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 its many dimensions.

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