Saturday, October 20, 2012

Acts chapter 14:1-17


Verses 1-7       A similar event to 13:44-46. We will find throughout Acts St. Paul meets with such situations again and again. But now see 2 Cor 11:23-29 and Acts 21:10-14 for an idea of his mindset. Why was St. Paul of that mindset? Consider 1 Cor 9:16 and 2 Cor 5:9-21. Might those texts guide our answer (especially 2 Cor 5:20)? 

Verses 8-18     Remember Acts 3:1-9? What is the difference here regarding the background of the one healed in this chapter? Note how the shift in Acts is occurring more frequently to God’s ministry to non-Jews, especially after chapter 10 and St. Peter’s vision. (We do see this ministry on occasion in the Gospels, for example Matthew 15:22-28). What do these events tell us about God’s mission to humanity?  What must our mission be? Consider Romans 3:23 and 6:23. Perhaps more to the point, HOW might we effect our mission?

Verse 16          What do you think about this? Now consider Acts 17:22-31; Ephesians 2:11-22; Romans 11:17-29. What do all these passages suggest?

Verse 17          See also Psalm 19:1-4, Matthew 5:43-48. What does this suggest about God? Is this a new idea for the apostles, including Paul? Can you think of Bible examples in Acts to        support your position? What does the answer to this question suggest to us regarding the earlier discussion of evangelism and missionary motivation? See once again the Catechism paragraph and quotes from Pope Benedict and Pope Paul VI below. What do those examples speak to this question of missionary motivation?

We will continue chapter 14 next time.

851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

09/02/2012 12:59
Pope: Christians also likely to relegate religion to "secondary habit "

Taking a cue from today's Gospel (XXII Sunday year B, Mk 7 1-8.14-15.21-23), in which Jesus criticizes the Scribes and Pharisees in their formalism in following the law, the pope said: "The words of Jesus in today's Gospel against the Scribes and Pharisees should make us stop and think too. Jesus makes the words of the prophet Isaiah his own: "This people honors me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts"(Mk 7.6 to 7, cf. Is 29:13).

The Pope continued:

God's Law therefore is a positive thing because "it is his Word that guides man on the path of life, it frees him from the condition of his slavery of selfishness and introduces him to the" land "of true freedom and life. . . .. In the Old Testament, he who in the name of God transmits God's Law to the people is Moses. He, after the long journey through the desert, on the threshold of the Promised Land, proclaims: " Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you"(Deut. 4:1)."

"Here - he continued - is the problem: when the people settle in the land, and are the depositaries of the Law, they are tempted to entrust their safety and joy to something that is no longer the Word of the Lord: to material goods, power, other 'gods' that are actually empty, that are idols. Certainly, the Law of God remains, but it is no longer the most important thing, the rule of life, it becomes a facade, a cover, and life takes another direction, other roads, other rules, often the selfish interests of the individual and groups. So religion loses its true meaning, which is to live in listening to God, to do his will, and is reduced to secondary habit, to satisfy the rather human need to feel we have done right before God. This is a serious risk in every religion, which Jesus encountered in his time, but that may occur, unfortunately, even in Christianity. "

The Encyclical: Gaudium et Spes (Pope Paul VI, 1965) found at

}  “Believers can thus have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.”

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