Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper18: Year 2
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and praised the word of the Lord; and as many as had been destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread throughout the region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region. So they shook the dust off their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13: 48 to 52)
We just can’t please everybody. The Jewish authorities took offense to the message of Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their region. Today we still do not want to sit and listen to people who disagree with us. We only want to win, even if winning our way is really not the best outcome for all concerned.
We must pay attention to the words that say, “devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city” were incited by smooth talkers. We must ponder about the words we hear. From social media to politics and religion, we sometimes lose the purpose of what we are fighting about and are only concerned about our side winning. We need to stop letting ourselves be manipulated and follow the advice of Blaise Pascal who said, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
And when polarized persons will not accept our need to ponder the deeper meaning of our choices, we need to follow the model that Paul and Barnabas set for us and shake the dust off our feet in protest and just be filled with the Holy Spirit.
To our continued prayers for Ukraine, let us also add Ethiopia where people are starving. Nothing is impossible for God to fix but it must be brought to God’s attention. Therefore, we pray.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John