Step #1: Lectio / read
From Paphos, Paul and his companions
set sail and arrived at Perga in Pamphylia.
But John left them and returned to Jerusalem.
They continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered into the synagogue and took their seats.
After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
“My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.”
So Paul got up, motioned with his hand, and said,
“Fellow children of Israel and you others who are God-fearing, listen.
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors
and exalted the people during their sojourn in the land of Egypt.
With uplifted arm he led them out,
and for about forty years he put up with them in the desert.
When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land as an inheritance
at the end of about four hundred and fifty years.
After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.
Then they asked for a king.
God gave them Saul, son of Kish,
a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.
Then he removed him and raised up David as their king;
of him he testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.
From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’”
Step #2: meditatio / meditate
In this reading we encounter Paul and some of his companions, including John for a while, traveling into an area of modern-day Turkey to spread the Gospel. In this case, they travel across the Mediterranean to bring the Gospel to the people in this new land.
Due to their ability to teach and the fame they have been gathering as they travel from place to place, Paul and his companions are asked to speak a word of exhortation to the people about the Scripture reading and what it means to their lives. Paul, never one to back down from an invitation to speak, stands up and begins to teach the people about Jesus Christ, beginning with the Israelite people in their time in slavery in Egypt. Using this common heritage he shares with many of the people in the synagogue that day, as well as appealing to the sensibilities of all of those present, Paul helps the people to understand where Jesus fits in their lives and who he was. In the end, he tells them of John the Baptist, who did great things but always pointed to Jesus whose sandals he was "not worth to unfasten."
Sometimes in our lives we hide behind the idea that the only real way for us to spread the Gospel is to live out lives of love and charity. It is very true that it is most important that we love the Lord in our actions and in the way that we treat others, and that this charity and this love is an incredibly important way for us to spread the Gospel.
The question today, though, is about our willingness to speak when asked. In this instance, due to the people they were known to be, Paul and his companions were asked to speak about Jesus. We won't always be asked so directly, but there will be times in our lives when we are being given the opportunity to speak about who Jesus is and what He has done in our lives. Are we willing to share that? If someone looks at you today and says "please speak," how are you going to respond?
Step #3: oratio / pray
"After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the synagogue officials sent word to them,
'My brothers, if one of you has a word of exhortation
for the people, please speak.'"
Are you willing to speak about what God has done in your life?
If asked today, what would you say about why you believe in Jesus Christ to a friend at school? How about a relative? How about a stranger?
If you feel scared to speak about your faith, why is that? What would it take to change that?
STep #4: contemplatio / contemplate
Come, Holy Spirit, and give me the strength to be bold.
Lord, I want to be a witness to your love in my life.
Lord, help me not to fear.
for the rest of your day...
Look for a chance, whether it's big or small, to speak about what Jesus has done in your life.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald.
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