Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Interesting premise ... but
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the company of the disciples went out to all the world to tell the good news. We know that Peter and then Paul went to the political and power center of the known world when they ended up in Rome - and witnessed to and died for the faith, Paul by beheading and Peter by crucifixion. Before that Paul went with his companions to Athens, as we hear in the Acts of the Apostles on this Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter. Paul took the message of Jesus and the experience of his faith to the known center of wisdom, learning, culture, civilization and the cradle of democratic thought. What he encountered there was an attitude of tolerance for new ideas and an arrogance of sophistication that placed the "universal truth" that he shared within the context of a good and novel idea. Some heard and thought it was worth discussing, when they had more time or less important things to do. Some dismissed it outright as being simple and not worthy of their time. Some were intrigued and sought Paul and the others out. And a number were moved to respond, to accept the call to conversion. Despite Paul's meeting them on their own turf, using the altar to the unknown god to point to the God that they did not know and using this as an occasion to share the truth, Athens was not an overwhelming success. The reason? Maybe they were too "sophisticated". Maybe they were too "advanced". Maybe they were too "with it" to accept simple truth. In many ways, we find our society too with it, advanced and sophisticated to be bothered with this simple truth, even today. How else do we explain the apathy to the message of Jesus Christ and the reluctance to journey with His family in this experience called life. Thank God for His Wisdom and His Spirit who blesses us with openness, mercy and love. Athens did not discourage or stop Paul. Let us not be discouraged either.