Thursday, June 30, 2022
Monday, June 27, 2022
This passage is about the journey
towards Jerusalem, where Paul was going to die.
Apostle Paul knew his life was going to
end very soon. It was God’s plan for him after so many years serving the Lord, spreading the Good News everywhere. Prisons and hardships were so familiar to him (Acts 20:23). The believers in several places he came across were crying
and kissed him goodbye as he said they wouldn’t meet him again (Acts 20:37-38).
Now in Caesarea, Agabus - a prophet came and told him what the Holy Spirit said
of how he would die (v.11). His close friends and the believers there were weeping
and urging him to avoid Jerusalem (v.12).
Normally we will be very sad when
someone tells us that we are going to die. Let alone when we have to die for
the sake of someone else. Sometimes, not very often, we heard about a person
who is willing to give his/ her body parts for the healing of a family member.
It’s because they love the person so much that the sacrifice feels lighter to
do. But to die for someone, needs more than that. The ultimate love which
encompasses everything or anyone else even our own selves. Otherwise it’s
impossible to reach such decision. This even applies when we have to die to sin, to self-indulgence, to money,
to the world, etc.
Apostle Paul had no hesitation at
all about this. Verse 13 shows how Paul replied to the people around him, “What
are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be
bound, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Dear brothers and sisters, do we
have such love that Apostle Paul had towards Jesus? “If anyone comes to me and
does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and
sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). It
is not that we have to hate others, but Jesus requires the first place in
our hearts. It’s the standard he set and a very high one.
Jesus Christ left his Kingdom in
Heaven to die bearing the wrath of God to save you and me. We need to look deep
inside. Is Jesus the King of our hearts, whom we give our ultimate devotion and
love? For Apostle Paul said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared
with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have
discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain
Christ.” (Phil 3:8). He is truly wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus Christ. How
about us? May God help us all.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
In today's passage we see that Paul is bidding farewell to
the people of Troas as he is moving to the next place of his mission. Since it
was the last night with them he decided to spend more time with the people
talking to them. At that time one young man named Eutychus, who fell asleep,
fell down to the ground three floors below. It is mentioned in the Bible that
he was picked up dead. However, Paul came down and picked the dead body of this
young man and raised him to life saying, "Do not be alarmed, for his life
is in him." Then Paul continued the meeting till dawn.
Dear brothers and sisters, as long as we have life in our
body we are alive. God has given all of us this gift of life. It may be long or
short we do not know. Along with life he also gives us freedom. The freedom to
Choose God or devil. The real way of making use of this freedom is to glorify
God through our life. But many choose the other way, the easy way to glorify
The young man fell asleep while Paul was preaching the truth
about Jesus Christ. The young man had not placed his heart in Jesus. We read in
Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
also." We most often place our heart on things, pleasure, people, wealth,
power, name and fame etc. These things take away our hearts from Jesus.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
"After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly" — Acts 19:41
In this passage, there was a demonstration in the city of Ephesus. At that time in the city of Ephesus there was a temple of Artemis which was famous throughout the world and became the pride of the city. Because of Paul's preaching of the gospel, a silver idol maker, Demetrius, was disturbed and his business was threatened with bankruptcy. He was trying to provoke the people in the city of Ephesus. In his speech, Demetrius tried to persuade the builders that all this was because of Paul trying to destroy the idol of Artemis. For Paul said that "everything made by human hands is not a god" (Acts 19:26).
There is an interesting saying in
verse 32: "Meanwhile, the people gathered in the building were shouting;
one said this and the other said that, because the crowd was in chaos and most
of them did not know what they were gathering for. " If we look at our
lives today, the events in Ephesus are very trending events. People sometimes
become like the Ephesians who were influenced by Demetrius' talk without seeking
the truth. People often join in without knowing why, and the worst part is that
some people become provocateurs for their own benefit. There are people who
hate the Church and then corner the Church and invite others to join in against
Alexander the Jew tried to calm
the angry mob, but his efforts failed (34). Finally the City Clerk intervened
to calm the crowd (35). He persuaded the people of Ephesus to calm down and
stop committing acts of anarchy. He managed to calm the crowd.
The story in Ephesus teaches us
that sometimes the presence of Christians becomes a problem in society because
some people want to criticize and destroy the followers of Christ. This
situation needs to be responded wisely. We learned a lot from the clerks in
that city. At the same time we remain in control of ourselves and are not
provoked by circumstances. May we continue to maintain faith in Christ while
asking His wisdom to be wiser in dealing with everything. Let's also ask His
Holy Spirit so that we can sort out what is good and what is right according to
Reflection on Act 19: 23-41 by
Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
We speak a lot and share many words in daily
conversations. We very often focus on ourselves and our needs. We are at the centre
of our talks. It happens that we even do not listen to others. They say
something but we do not care about it.
Paul the Apostle had a different attitude towards
people. When he travelled, he met hundreds of people and talked with them.
"He provided many words of encouragement" (v.2). In this way his
mission was successful. For he knew what to tell his listeners. He was always
focused on the truth of Jesus Christ. Even when he experienced difficulties, he
did not give up. He stayed with those who accepted his words and fell in love
with the Good News. Thus, more and more friends wanted to go with him because
he was full of the Holy Spirit.
Today we can think about ourselves. After Pentecost
are we fulfilled with the Spirit of God? Are we the followers of Jesus Christ
who support others with "words of encouragement"? Does the Holy
Spirit work through our words and actions?
Let us imitate the Apostle Paul. Let us concentrate on
goodness and share the Gospel with the world.
Reflection on Acts 20:1-6 by Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)