Saturday, May 5, 2012

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

“Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.  – Archbishop Oscar Romero

(Scripture Text: Acts 13:44-52)

On the following sabbath

almost the whole city
gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
"It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth."

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit

If you were persecuted and thrown out of town, what would you be filled with? Bitterness? Hatred? Fear?
What if you were seized, led off to court, and lied about by false witnesses? (Acts 6:12-13) What would be the expression on your face? Would you be stoic, livid, or disturbed?
Most of us believe that God is present with us and within us. However, it makes a great difference how deeply we are aware of His presence. If we let the Holy Spirit teach us how to "practice the presence of God," we will have joy, peace, freedom, endurance, and hope even when things do not go our way. This would be impossible to have without a deep awareness of God's presence. God is always present to us.  I guess the big question to reflect upon is:
Will we be present to Him? 

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