From the Word of the Day
God raised him from the dead and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. (Acts 13: 31)
This passage is taken from Paul’s first discourse at Antioch. It is the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus, the heart of the Gospel, made through the account of His apparitions.
It is an essential account and an incisive discourse to capture the attention of a public that knows the Sacred Scripture. As soon as they arrived in the city, Paul and Barnabas go to the synagogue or the place where the dispersed Jewish community meets and there they announce the Good News. It is a precise choice that was probably contested by John Mark who we read in yesterday’s letter, had gone back. However, it is an explicit choice that implies a consideration for the Jews as the chosen people who have the right to receive first the Good News of the Messiah as also they have the right to refuse it. It is only at this point that Paul and Barnabas speak to those who fear God and to the pagans. It is a form of respect, of precedence, that characterizes the whole course of the Word narrated in the Acts of the Apostles and that we can intuit from Paul’s letters.
Lord, we find difficulty in organizing ourselves for our pastoral and our evangelization; of building strategic choices to say how to orient ourselves with awareness. Help us to avoid improvisation. Help us to avoid laziness. Help us to be faithful to the Holy Spirit, not in a naive or simplistic way, but by using all our intelligence and passion so that no one will be forgotten or excluded.
The Voice of Pope Francis
I dream of a missionary choice able to transform everything because the customs, styles, schedules, language, and every ecclesial structure becomes an adequate channel for evangelization in today’s world rather than self-preservation. The reform of structures that demands pastoral conversion, can only be understood in this sense: act so that it becomes totally more missionary; that ordinary pastoral be more expansive and open in all its moments; that the agents of pastoral put themselves in a constant attitude of ‘going out’ and thus favor a positive response to all those to whom Jesus offers His friendship.