Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’
What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.
While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Paul’s letters and the Acts of the Apostles are a chronicle of bringing the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection to new venues like Athens. Paul treasured his role as an apostle – going out to the whole world and telling the Good News – so he might be troubled that, today, his words are heard most often by those who already believe.
He need not be troubled. For in my hearing I become the “words” of Paul, going into the times, places, and situations, he could not have imagined. I pray that I carry with me the joy and peace Paul felt as he brought to the Greeks the faith that we all are in the loving hands of one God, who has brought all to be and sustains all with the power of love.
We follow in the steps of Christ as the model of God among us, as Paul did, so that we may evangelize as Paul did.
What steps am I taking today to be available and to love someone in need? What steps am I taking today to express in words and action God’s love for those who are closest to me? What steps am I taking today to ensure that God knows my love and I recognize and receive God’s love for me?
Pray for someone you don’t love. It helps both of you.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J. is Associate Novice Director at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Paul, MN. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Spirit of the risen Lord,
who moved the Holy One to care for friends with his still wounded hands and pierced heart –
make me attentive to my friends
even with my fearing touch and wearing spirit.
Open my eyes to see what gifts they really are; open my ears to hear what good they really mean to say. Brace my spirit to feel what they need me to feel.
And as you steeled the heart of Jesus while he lived misunderstood and they betrayed, brace me now while I find how I have fared in risking my self to remain true to who I am and to be open in giving and receiving love.
—Joseph Tetlow, S.JPlease share the Good Word with your friends!