< <  

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

  > >

St. Bernardine of Siena

Acts 17:15, 22—18:1
Psalm 148
John 16:12-15

View Readings
Similar Reflections

trying, failing, and learning

"When they heard about the raising of the dead, some sneered, while others said, 'We must hear you on this topic some other time.' " —Acts 17:32

When Paul spoke of Jesus and the resurrection to the people of Athens, they called him a "magpie" (Acts 17:18), sneered at him, and brushed him off (Acts 17:32). However, a few became believers (Acts 17:34).

As we read through Acts of the Apostles this Easter season, many Christians can relate to Paul's difficulties at Athens better than to other parts of Acts. The "culture of death" in which we live is similar to that of Athens. Also, sad to say, we may have the weaknesses that Paul showed at Athens. Paul tried the mission at Athens solo because he was too impatient to wait for Silas and Timothy to join him (Acts 17:15-16). Similarly, our excessive individualism and lack of community severely weakens our evangelization. Furthermore, Paul did not get around to proclaiming Jesus crucified in Athens. In our culture, and even in our Church, we also fail to emphasize the cross. Thus, like Paul in Athens, we also have few converts.

However, Paul learned his lesson. When he went to his next mission, at Corinth, he determined to "speak of nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Let's be like Paul. Let's try, even if we may fail. Let's learn from our mistakes and lead many to Jesus.

Prayer:  Jesus, I will be Your witness (see Acts 1:8).

Promise:  "When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears, and will announce to you the things to come." —Jn 16:13

Praise:  Bernardine was a fabulously fruitful missionary preacher, traveling on foot throughout his missions. "How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!" (Rm 10:15)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997