There was an attempt in Iconium by both the Gentiles and the Jews,
together with their leaders, to attack and stone Paul and Barnabas.
The apostles learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they continued proclaiming the good news.
In Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice.
When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to follow their own ways; yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.” Even with these words, they scarcely restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.
Psalm 115:1-4, 15-16
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
he does whatever he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to human beings.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Alan Vigneron has urged Catholics to keep the Lord’s Day holy by refraining from sports activities and programs that keep families too busy to attend worship services, togetherness time or charity work. The commandment of God requires us to set aside this day for rest or for ‘entering into the rest’ that He entered on the last day so that we will not fail to think of and yearn for the day when we ultimately are united with Him in paradise.
There is of course, a mixed response to the Archbishop’s directive. Sports and CYO have been keeping people running on Sundays for decades and it has become an accepted part of people's schedules. Some people welcome the message and others think that it is out of step with the way things are now. People can believe that a commandment of God becomes outdated through disuse. It’s a contagious mentality along the lines of, ‘everyone cheats on their taxes, so I can cheat too’. Or, ‘everyone takes office supplies so I can pilfer office supplies. Or, ‘everyone drives over the speed limit, so I can speed’. But there are still consequences if we break the law. Yet, in a much more serious and urgent manner, the commandments are given to us directly from God. They carry the divine essence of love and relationship to God. Our obedience to them keeps us safe and causes us to be blessed with God’s presence as well. Today, the scriptures remind us that the commandments of God are a way to show our love for God. Will we obey them? Or, if we refuse, will we understand that we are in rebellion to God and outside of his fellowship?
In our Old Testament reading, Paul and Barnabas performed a miracle of faith and the pagans were so over-awed by it, that they thought the men were gods and attempted to make sacrifices to them. Paul explained to them that in days of old, God allowed them to follow their own ways but now, they were able to receive knowledge of the one true God.
Perhaps now is also a particular time that we are being called back to worship the Lord and not the gods of the world. Being holy means being ‘set apart’ for the work of God. Are we holy or are we just like everyone else? Would anyone approach us to ask for prayers for miracles? Or do they see us cheating, stealing, or breaking laws? We aren’t old-fashioned to try to obey. We are the ones who love God.
Today consider the commandments. Are there any idols in your life that take the place of God? Are you addicted to anything? Do you honor God and parents? Keep the Lord’s Day holy? Do you lie, steal, lust, kill (support abortion) covet? Take a fearless look at yourself and recommit to love the Lord through obeying the commandments.