Acts 18:9-18 Reflection:
We are always afraid; on the face of it there is so much violence and hatred in the world that you would think that people with the Christian message would have nowhere to run. But today’s story from Acts tells us something quite different. Jesus spoke to Paul and said, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’
There are people of God everywhere and sometimes we find them in the most unusual places. For example, we heard this week that Raul Castro is considering coming back to the faith. Does it mean anything? Yes, it shows once again that there is still something in him that is alive to God. He may decide to reject that voice, but it shall catch up with him sometime, that is the way God is.
You see, the idea of God is not something that the world can ‘take it or leave it’ as it wants: the idea of God is the very foundation of all being, God is that which underlies all creation, so there is no place where we can escape the influence of God. It is like us saying that we refuse to believe in gravity.
Perhaps that is what causes so much angst in the world, the fact that people should believe in God but don’t. God has made us in such a way that we can only be happy when we are in contact with him and are obeying his laws as laid down in nature. When we choose to step outside his remit and set ourselves at odds with him, we are uncomfortable, to say the least.
Psalm 118, the big long one, tells us that if we obey God’s law all our problems will be solved: “Yours laws, Lord, are my counsellor.” Try telling that to the modern world, that if we obey God’s law then our mind, body and soul shall be in harmony.
Then there is this line at the end of today’s reading: “After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.”
I wonder what the vow was!!!