Friday, October 23, 2020
Pilgrimages With Paul
So what struck you and stuck with you during our pilgrimages? Here are some of my thoughts.
Paul- a prominent person in the history of our faith was a very ordinary human being. He could be harsh (Gal 3.1) and tender (Galatians 4.19f). Paul showed humility (1 Cor 15.9) and was boastful (2 Cor 11.16ff). He shows concern for those who wronged him (2 Timothy 4.16) and some resentment ( 2 Tim 4.14). In other words, Paul was like us- a sinner being formed into a saint by the grace and power of God.
Paul looked for goodness and truth everywhere. In his letters he borrowed from the Liturgy (2 Cor 1.2) and from the Hebrew Scriptures (2 Cor 6.18 see 2 Samuel 7.14). Paul used Christian poetry (Philippian 2.6ff) and pagan poetry (Titus 1.12). And Paul employed his own experience (Galatians 1, 13ff). God can be found everywhere if we know how to look.
Paul was not a “one man show” when it came to preaching the Good News. Over and over in his letters he refers to his co-workers (Timothy, Titus, Sosthenes, Prisca, Phoebe, Junia…). It reminds me that through Baptism all of us are sent (we are “apostles’) to bring the Gospel to the world through work and word- together (remember how strong the theme of “unity” is in Paul’s letters (1 Cor 1.10).
Paul keeps the right perspective: It’s not what we have done for God that’s primary but what God has done (and still does) for us (1 Cor 15, 10; Ephesians 2.8-10).
Paul, in the way he opens many of his letters, seems to suggest that prayer begins with gratitude and praise (Eph 1.3ff; Rom 1.8; Philemon, 4ff).
I hope you found some personally enriching moments during our pilgrimages. Looking forward to being with you again as we explore the rest of the letters in the New Testament in “Letters of Light.”
A prayer for you. Please say one for me.