First Reading: Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op'agus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, `To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for `In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, `For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionys'ius the Are-op'agite and a woman named Dam'aris and others with them. After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 148:1-2, 11-14
Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD!
Gospel: John 16:12-15
"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
On this day in 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared for the first time to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Because of the messages Our Lady brought, little Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were filled with a zeal to save souls and to help people get to Heaven.
Reading about them, I am always amazed. Who were they? What was it about them that God loved them so and chose them?
Then in the First Reading Saint Paul shares how some who heard his preaching mocked him but others were compelled and became Christians. Dionysius and Damaris, who were they? What was it about them that God allowed their ears and hearts to be open to the Gospel and their names to be written forever in Scripture?
There is "them" and then there is me. Maybe you feel the same way. The Church, the faith, and a personal, beautiful relationship with Christ—those things are all for them.
The fact is, however, that God does not love the children of Fatima and the converts from Athens any more than He loves you and me. We are all part of this great work of salvation history. We are also important enough to be noted and named.
Christ said that the Spirit of truth would come and would guide us into all the truth. God's Holy Spirit is here for you and for me, ready to whisk us away.
You may never be a canonized saint, as the children of Fatima are, but that does not mean that God is not leading you to something awesome. What great good does God want to work in the Church though you? What miracle is He about to perform because you are compelled by what you know of Him and so you trust and give your life to Him as Paul and the converts did? What flames will the Spirit fan in your heart so that love, passion, and conviction overtake you and it is through you that God is glorified and praised, just as with the psalmist?
Do you see? Do you see that the Church needs you? Almighty God, your parish, your diocese, and little ole me—we all want you to embrace the fullness of Truth that God now reveals to us and we want you to joyfully and passionately live it out every day and in every aspect of your life.
Our faith is beautiful, it is true, and it is fun. God loves you; Christ died for you; the Spirit guides you. How can you live your life accordingly?
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker and homemaker. She lives with her husband and five children in central Illinois. You can find out more about her here.