Acts 18:1-8
John 16:16-20


When I reflect on some of the major developments and changes in my life, I often see the impact of “sliding door” moments. Those seemingly random occurrences that can change the course of your life and destiny.

A major part of my life is now focused on Asia: teaching English in and into Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

That began in a random encounter 20 years ago when I ran into a schoolteacher, who I hadn’t seen for ten years, and he mentioned that he was taking students to Vietnam later that year. Would I be interested in joining them? I thought this was a bit of a lark, I had never been to Vietnam. What I didn’t realize then was that they were going to offer their love and care and time to disabled orphans.

It was a profound and life-changing experience. To be with young people with either major or not so major disabilities, but facing life with resilience, patience, and kindness, it just blew my mind.

Over the years, one thing led to another.  Now I am involved with many wonderful organizations and people doing amazing work in incredible situations. I am astounded by the love and goodness that is in the world, even in the most trying and difficult circumstances.

A random moment, a life changing event.

Paul experienced those sliding door moments.

What if he had been on the Road to Emaus, rather than the road to Damascus. Would things have turned out differently?

Today in our first reading we see some random moments that led to profound changes.

Why did Paul start preaching to the Gentiles? because the Jews at that synagogue didn’t believe him. That wasn’t an isolated occurrence, but he may have been at another synagogue, who did believe him, and we may have not some to know the Good News of Jesus Christ

Why was he at that synagogue? Because from where he was stahing, he could attend that synagogue. Why was he at Aquila’s house? Because he was a tentmaker, like Paul. Aquila could have been a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, and Paul would have stayed somewhere else. And events may not have unfolded as they did.

Why was Aquila there? Because Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome, where Aquila had lived with his wife Priscilla.

All seemingly random and unconnected events, but all were moments in time that led to this moment, where we can share the good news here and now.

All moments, large and little. All important and profound

When I was a kid, there was a saying, “Little things mean a lot.”

 No I’ve learnt that little things don’t mean a lot, they mean everything. 

Mauy we never fail to see the love, the goodness, the opportunity, in each and every moment that passes our way.

Peter Gardiner is a Passionist Priest in Sydney. He is primarily involved in outreach ministries.