Acts    14: 19-28
John: 14: 27-31a


It would not seem right to lightly pass over the experiences of Paul recounted in today’s first reading. It seems that it was in Lystra that Jewish preachers had followed Paul and Barnabas from Antioch and Iconium and in their anger, they stoned Paul, dragged him outside of the city and left him for dead.

We could expect most people to give up at that stage, but the next day, Paul and his team left for Derbe and preached there, before returning to Lystra, Antioch and Iconium! Here they ‘strengthened the spirits of the small church in each city and encouraged them to persevere in the faith’.

By practising what he preached, Paul certainly earned the right to be listened to. Imagine being stoned to the point that you are presumed dead, and the following day setting out to another town to risk the same fate! Then returning to the town where you were stoned (Lystra) and on to the towns (Antioch and Iconium) where the stoners lived! Why? Because of his desire and commitment to encourage and strengthen the communities he had founded.

This is the man who wrote, “I have made myself all things to all people in order to win some at any cost” (1 Cor 9:19). And “ I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of everything, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” Phil 3:8).

Had Paul, a former Rabbi, not taken his faith to the Gentiles, Christianity would have remained a sect.

We share the same faith as Paul, but the depth of his conviction, determination and commitment and his resulting action, certainly challenges us.

Brian Traynor CP  has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.