In today’s first reading from the Acts (17:15-18:1), Paul speaks to the Athenians about their worship of “an unknown God”. The people of Athens apparently wanted to ensure they had all their bases covered so that no god would be displeased with them. In the gospels of the last weeks, we see that Jesus’ closest companions still don’t understand Jesus and his mission and relationship with the Father. “Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, and to Phillip “Have I been with you all this time, Phillip and you still do not know me”
I believe that in our time, we are fortunate because we worship a God we do know. Personally, there was a tinge of sadness reading that the people of Athens didn’t know God or have a personal relationship with God.
My thoughts from this reading led me to think, how do I know God and remain attentive to God’s presence and come to know him better? Yes, I can read scripture in which God revealed himself and divine plan for me. i can learn what the church teaches through encyclicals, spiritual writings, attending lectures and listening to “good” preaching. I can participate in Mass and receive Eucharist. I can come to know Christ by seeing Him in my brothers and sisters and offering them loving service. But more importantly to me is my personal relationship with my God through personal prayer and being aware of God in the simple things of life eg the company of a good friend, a sleeping child, the beauty of creation, whether it be the warmth of the sun, the smell of the bush, the waves of the sea, and in “silence”
We are so blessed that we don’t worship an unknown god, but we have a God in whom we live and move and have our being. (Acts. 17:28)
Elizabeth Buchel has worked as an educator and psychologist for many years. She is formed in Passionist and Benedictine Spirituality. Elizabeth is a Passionist Companion and has been a active parishioner of St Brigids Marrickville since 1985.