The next sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul. Then both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 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.
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.
It gives me hope – and a bit of jealousy – to read about a gathered crowd eager for the word of God. Many are yearning for the day we can again gather for Mass. It is with hope and trust in God that we carry on in joy until then.
I am struck by Paul and Barnabas’ reaction to rejection. Following the guidance of Jesus, they shook the dust from their feet and went on in search of the next crowd with whom they could share God’s word. And they “were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
Now, we are most in need of joy and the Holy Spirit! Apart from crowds, we are called to do just as Paul and Barnabas did – to share the word of God boldly. How can you share the Resurrection from or within your home? Will you carry on with joy if met with jealousy or rejection?
—Rachel Forton is the Marketing Coordinator for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
—Unknown, but often attributed to St. Ignatius of LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!