Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 17,1-14

Passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they eventually reached Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul as usual went in and for three consecutive Sabbaths developed the arguments from scripture for them, explaining and proving how it was ordained that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead. 'And the Christ', he said, 'is this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.' Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, and so did a great many godfearing people and Greeks, as well as a number of the leading women. The Jews, full of resentment, enlisted the help of a gang from the market place, stirred up a crowd, and soon had the whole city in an uproar. They made for Jason's house, hoping to bring them before the People's Assembly; however, they found only Jason and some of the brothers, and these they dragged before the city council, shouting, 'The people who have been turning the whole world upside down have come here now; they have been staying at Jason's. They have broken Caesar's edicts by claiming that there is another king, Jesus.' Hearing this, the citizens and the city councillors were alarmed, and they made Jason and the rest give security before setting them free. When it was dark the brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away to Beroea, where they went to the Jewish synagogue as soon as they arrived. Here the Jews were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they welcomed the word very readily; every day they studied the scriptures to check whether it was true. Many of them became believers, and so did many Greek women of high standing and a number of the men. When the Jews of Thessalonica came to learn that the word of God was being preached by Paul in Beroea as well, they went there to make trouble and stir up the people. So the brothers arranged for Paul to go immediately as far as the coast, leaving Silas and Timothy behind.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul stops in Thessalonica, the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia, and enters, as was his custom, into the synagogue. Thessalonica was an important political, economic, cultural and religious centre. Paul (with Silas and Timothy) for three consecutive Saturdays, starting from the scriptures, announces to those who were there that “the Messiah is this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” Even here, some of those who were listening were touched by Paul’s words. Some Greeks and women from wealthy families also joined in. Another group of Jews, however, became envious of Paul’s success, provoked a riot against him and forced him to go to Beroea with his companions. There the local Jews warmly received them with a spirit of great acceptance. Unfortunately those from Thessalonica heard of it and came to the city to stir up some more trouble. As we can see, for Paul, the beginning of the Church on European soil brought a painful chain of bitter experiences. The repeated accusation against him was public disruption and revolt against the state. Such always is the path for the Church and for every Christian community, but the Lord has promised that he will never leave his disciples alone and that his help will never fail. These pages from the Acts tell us that Christian life is always a life in struggle against evil. However, we also know that the consolation that comes from our friendship with the Lord allows us to overcome every difficulty and obstacle.