May 9, 2020

It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

Thus, spoke Barnabas and Paul when their preaching in the synagogue in Perga in Pamphilia was met with “violent abuse.” And so began an expansion of the Christian message to the Gentiles that led to the blossoming of the church throughout the ancient world. The failure of some showed that they were not part of the true Israel. When the two missionaries left the synagogue and, as the door swung behind them, it shut out hope for those who opposed the message and let unbelief in. However, “the Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord.”

The air was fresher outside, and eager hearts there welcomed the word. Very beautifully is the gladness of the Gentile hearers set in contrast with the bad temper of those Jews. It must have been strange and wonderful news to heathen hearts to hear that there is a God who actually loves them, and a divine Christ who was willing to die for them.

This incident teaches us a lesson we continually need to learn. The preaching of the gospel, despite its message of love, forgiveness, and justice as well as its rejection of all forms of violence, can incur vicious and violent opposition. We should neither be surprised nor discouraged at this. We can always shake the dust from our feet and find others who are more receptive to the challenge of God’s love for us.

How can I make an effort to be an apostle today?

Let Us Pray:

O Lord, fill me with the enthusiasm that filled Barnabas and Paul, compelling them to share the Christian message. May I be full of joy for the message that I have received, and gratitude to you for having made me so full of your love that I also may proclaim your love and your truth.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015. His most recent book is A Eucharistic Spirituality: Inspired by Saint Peter Julian Eymard – Apostle of the Eucharist, which he co-authored with Jim Brown.