Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and show yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46)
This passage helps us understand how Paul and Barnabas came to be identified with the mission to the Gentiles. In it, we sense the hope of early Christians that in the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation, the people of the covenant would be the first to be evangelized and come to believe. Paul’s pain is that despite the blessings bestowed on Israel — the covenant, the law, prophecy, etc. — his fellow Jews have resisted the call to faith in Christ. Thus, he and Barnabas turn elsewhere.
Paul writes in Romans 9:2-3: “There is great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh.”
Many in our own day feel sadness and grief over family members or friends who no longer practice the faith or have renounced it entirely. What can be done? How about turning anguish into something positive?
Reflect the goodness of God in your words and actions rather than judgment and threats. Listen and encourage whenever you have the opportunity to do so. Let your life exemplify the joy, peace, and confidence of one who knows the patience of God. Pray that grace will work powerfully in the lives of all you love. Offer your Communion today, and often, as a prayer of real concern for those who are struggling. God, who is tender and merciful, hears just such a prayer!
Let us pray:
May your heavenly gifts, O Lord, which you bestow on your people, not bring judgment but healing and peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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