Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up
Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.
Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1
6th Week of Easter
They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to
join him. (Acts 17:15)
It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone
down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first
reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on
his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and
Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far
from the truth.
From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself
with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us:
Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known:
Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and
women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed
God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was
crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness
(Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of
collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.
Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw
the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to
describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital
to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).
If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so
Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help
support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal
organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If
so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships?
Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message
thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just
simply express how much they mean to you.
If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking
to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing
of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship
for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of
the body of Christ.
“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14