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Monday, May 19, 2003

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Acts 14:5-18
Psalm 115
John 14:21-26

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"skin for skin!" (jb 2:4)

"Gods have come to us in the form of men!" —Acts 14:11

Recently my children and I studied the book of Acts. When we read today's first reading, the kids burst out in laughter. They thought it was hilarious that the Lycaonian people would mistake Paul and Barnabas for gods (Acts 14:11). They laughed even harder when they read about the elaborate sacrifices the people were attempting to offer to the apostles (Acts 14:13, 18).

The misguided Lycaonian folks were on to something big. If "the gods" were to come down to live among them "in the form of men," there could be only one possible response they could make: offer extravagant sacrifices, gather crowds of people to pass on the wonderful news, and generate enthusiastic responses to the incredible act of a god taking on human flesh.

It just so happens that this teaching is being written on the Feast of the Incarnation. We celebrate the astounding truth that Jesus Christ, the eternal God (Jn 1:1), "became flesh and made His dwelling among us" (Jn 1:14). Jesus came to earth "in the likeness of men. He was known to be of human estate" (Phil 2:7). Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us (Mt 1:23). To save us and atone for our sins, Jesus had to become like us in every way and be our human representative, our High Priest, before God (see Heb 2:17-18; 4:14—5:3).

We might be tempted to laugh at the Lycaonians for their absurdity. I suspect they would laugh at us for not rejoicing exuberantly, repenting completely, evangelizing zealously, and abandoning ourselves in worship at the feet of Jesus, God made man.

Prayer:  Father, may I respond in a manner appropriate to what Your Son did in becoming a human being. Alleluia! Praise You, Jesus!

Promise:  "The Holy Spirit...will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you." —Jn 14:26

Praise:  Bill received prayers for healing of a tumor. Weeks later, to the amazement of his doctors, the tumor couldn't be found.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, October 17, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2002