The word of God continued to spread and grow.
After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission,
they returned to Jerusalem,
taking with them John, who is called Mark.
Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,
Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
"Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul
for the work to which I have called them."
Then, completing their fasting and prayer,
they laid hands on them and sent them off.
So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit,
went down to Seleucia
and from there sailed to Cyprus.
When they arrived in Salamis,
they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
When we discuss the Scriptures, the first thing we talk about is what stood out to us. Our youngest(12 years old), said what stood out to her was the last part of the first reading. “When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.” She has a Jewish friend that she is really close to, and we talk about the differences in our beliefs. She is very self conscious about talking about faith and beliefs when we are in the presence of her friend. She asked how would it be possible for these two Christian men to go into a Jewish Synagogue and begin proclaiming the Word of God according to their beliefs. Our older children pointed out that they were Jewish at one time. She said, yes, but their purpose was to proclaim the Word of God based on Jesus’ teachings, not the Jewish teachings. She then asked, “Wouldn’t people have gotten upset and taken them out of the building?”
Our answer to her was that there is one person we failed to include in our discussion, they were “sent forth by the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Spirit is an amazing and powerful teacher. When we are open to the Holy Spirit, he can really help us in so many ways. Here, in the case of the two apostles teaching in the Synagogue, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit was helping them. What makes this even more amazing, is that if you go to the first part Acts chapter 12, it says that Herod had James killed by sword and this made the Jewish people very happy. Proclaiming the Word of God in the Jewish Synagogues was definitely a dangerous endeavor. However, when we all gather together in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit to help us and strengthen us to do the Will of God, AMAZING things are possible.
As part of this beautiful Apostolate, PAPA, we can gather together in prayer. Praying for the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to go out and share the Prayer for Priests with other kindred souls. On page 32 of our PAPA handbook, there is the prayer “Come, Holy Spirit”. I am hopeful that we can all pray this prayer everyday, and as the days go by, we will see the results of what the Holy Spirit can do in each one of us. Coming together in prayer is powerful, and this reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows us the power of prayer.
May God bless us all!
Veni Sancte Spiritus!