But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Faith comes to action in today’s first reading. The apostles are men of fire, and they would have to be. Paul is near-death, people are scared and confused. Prayer and fasting help win people over to Christ. Maybe today’s reading applies quite well to the world today.
There are many worries that can occupy our day. There are many reasons for confusion and disagreement. The call of a Christian today seems to be, “How can you bring people closer to Christ?” How can you bring those around you from worry to worship, from confusion to Christ? What would help today? Is it prayer and fasting, or something else? What are you doing to bring others closer to Christ? What could you do to bring others closer to Christ? What will you do to bring others closer to Christ? As a Christian, you share in a missionary call. How can you begin to fulfill it?
Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
for rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!