4TH JUNE 2022
Our reflection will be based on our first reading. Acts 28: 16-20; 30-31
In this passage Paul's wish and God's purpose for him to come to Rome were finding their fulfillment. The author of this book, St Luke the evangelist, portrays Paul's entry into Rome as triumphant and allowed only by the grace of God. Rome was the greatest city in the world during Paul's time; indeed it was the center of the world. To preach the Gospel of Christ in Rome was tantamount to preaching the Gospel to the ends of the world- thus fulfilling Christ's command to "preach the Gospel to the ends of the world ..." Christ had also promised that he would be with them till the end of time.
Paul is a prisoner but not an ordinary prisoner: for instance he is allowed to dwell by himself, provide his own living space - a rented house- receive visitors and preach to them. He had a guard to supervise him but the guards were rotated quite often in a day thereby giving him a wider audience to talk to.
Paul invited the Jewish leaders living in Rome together to let them know that he had not abandoned their faith. The leaders desired to hear for themselves what Paul was being accused of by Jewish leaders in Israel. Paul grabbed this chance to teach about the kingdom of God: to preach and explaining to them the fulfillment of God's promises - and indeed the fulfillment of the scriptures- in Christ Jesus.
Some were persuaded by Paul's teachings while others did not believe him. He quoted Isaiah 6:9-10 suggesting that the Holy Spirit had shown Isaiah that some Jews would reject Jesus.
Paul consequently decided to start preaching to the Gentiles.
This is telling: as Paul came to Rome he encountered a lot of difficulties including a cruel sea, harsh soldiers, snake bites and opposition from Jewish leaders, but God delivered him from all these.
From this we have the following lessons:
i. To those who love God no difficulties will prevail on their way to do God's will.
ii. Opposition is part of life and will not deter our efforts to preach the Gospel.
iii. God endows strength, confidence and courage to those who trust in Him in the amidst of difficulties.
iv. We all have our share in the spreading of the Gospel.
Let us pray that we may always draw strength from our Lord especially in low and difficult moments.