Step #1: lectio / read
Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.
On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Step #2: meditatio / meditate
In your mind, what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?
Today, Paul and Barnabas encounter Gentiles who devoutly have given their lives to the Lord, and Jews who are mad that the Gentiles are allowed to come and be close to the Lord. At the time, the Jewish people and many of the early converts to Christianity who were Jewish thought that, in order to follow Christ, you had to be Jewish. Paul, on the other hand, knew that Christ's Gospel was for all people, not just for the Jews, and boldly proclaimed that every chance that he had.
In today's reading, we hear from Paul what it really means to be a follower of Christ: we must be faithful followers of Jesus every day. The Jews, due to their selfishness and their jealousy, refused to be faithful to the messengers God had sent them and instead spoke out negatively against Paul and Barnabas to serve their own interests.
Many times, like the Jews in this reading, the Gospel and teachings of Christianity challenge us to be faithful even when it's difficult and we don't quite like or understand what Christ is asking for us. Faithfulness means being willing to follow Christ no matter how difficult that is; sometimes it will be fun and joyful to follow God's plan, and other times it will involve suffering. Either way, our call is the same: stay faithful to the call of Christ in your life.
How, in your life today, is Christ calling you to be faithful? Are you ready follow Him that way, even when it's difficult?
Step #3: Oratio / pray
"The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit."
How are is God calling me to be faithful to Himself today?
In what ways is the Gospel challenging your current way of life, and in what ways might God be asking you to change what you are currently doing?
Are you committed to following Christ even when it's difficult? If not, why not?
What small ways or big ways is God asking for faithfulness from you today?
Step #4: meditatio / meditate
Fill me with joy and the Holy Spirit, Lord.
Give me the strength to be faithful to You in every way.
I commit myself to follow you today.
For the rest of your day...
Think of the ways that you might be challenged in your faithfulness today - friends who tempt you, people who get on your nerves, sins you struggle with - and commit to choose Christ in those areas today.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald.