29 May 2019
Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.
So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:
‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.
‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:
“We are all his children.”
‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.
‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’
At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’
After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
All he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.’
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now
I have often pondered on this. If I had the gift of precognition – how would I have led my life?
We cannot control many events in our lives – for example we don’t get to choose our parents, our siblings, our relatives. However, there are certain events that were fully up to our own choices, like the path we took after graduation, our choice of life partners, whether one chooses a life of debauchery and merrymaking, or one of responsibility.
When I reflect on my own life – 2 events stood out for me.
- Marriage – I got married at 25. A year later, the marriage fell apart and we divorced civilly some 5 years later. I was living abroad at the time.
- Business – I had a real passion for church vestments and paraments. What started out as passion and love for liturgical vestments lead to a small business, which eventually led to a fallout and breakdown of a relationship.
If I had known the outcome of these life choices, would I have gone down each path? The quick answer will have be ‘no’. Who would want to endure the hurt and pain of betrayal, and the inconvenience of the legal implications of ending relationships? However, now that quite a few years have passed and as I look back, each of these incidences have brought about some rather beautiful outcomes. Something has to die for something to live. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
There is only so much humans can learn at one time — Jesus, so merciful and loving knows this. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus gives his disciples his farewell speech, knowing that His time draws near when He has to leave them. Jesus declares that He does not have enough time to say all that He would like to his followers. Moreover, they would not have the ability to hear it. Jesus, however, promises them the Advocate, who will reveal to them all things which is to come, at the right time.
It is impossible to understand and take in, over a short period of time, all that Jesus has to teach us. As our journey through life continues, the Holy Spirit gradually unfolds God’s message so that it speaks to us at appropriate times in our lives. Our capacity to take in what God has to reveal to us is expandable — when we become more open, the Spirit of Truth will reveal more, and guide us into all the truth. Jesus wants to draw us into the life of God. He knows how anxious we can be, both to let go of the past and to trust what the future will bring. Can we speak to him about our anxieties?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Jesus, you are truly magnificent. For by the gift of the Advocate, you have never left us. We pray for open hearts and minds to let the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth about God, about You, and our own lives.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for understanding how weak and vulnerable we are. Thank you Lord, for sending us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us as we muddle our way through this life.