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A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 17:15, 22-18:1

After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” And so Paul left them. But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.

REFLECTION: ... "I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God. ' "

The Areopagus, translated "Hill of Ares", is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. St Paul was asked to defend his preachings there.

A successful relationship grows when there is common ground. St Paul used the familiar when he spoke at the Areopagus. He found that which the Athenians would relate to. He found the connection of the familiar Grecian belief in the Unknown God and the message of Jesus Christ, the Good News. He was able to talk to the Greeks of God in the context of their unknown God. He was able to speak to them at their level of understanding and then gently introduced them to the Truth.

Following the example of St Paul, may all we do be with love and gentleness, allowing the Holy Spirit to work within us. May we go forth and make disciples for God.

Do's by St Paul:

1. Acknowledges the good that he saw-They were religious, they had altars and they believed in the divine.

2. Notices their uncertainty in the altar ‘To an Unknown God'.

3. Confirms that there is only one God.

4. Quotes from their poems.

5. Speaks to them in context of their culture.

6. Knows the desires of their hearts.

7. Is compassionate.

Don'ts by St Paul:

1. Does not condemn.

2. Does not focus on how wrong they are.

3. Does not concentrate on idolatry.

4. Does not speak of politics.

5. Does not focus on the sin.

6. Does not judge.

7. Does not insult.

God Bless You.


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