John 14:1-6; Ps 2 YOu are my son; this day i have begotten you; Acts 13:26-33
Today in the first reading we encounter Paul arriving at Antioch in Pisidia, standing in the Synagogue and proclaiming the message of Christ.
Antioch of Pisidia is in modern day Turkey. It is here we experience St. Paul's first recored sermon on his missionary journey to bring the good news of Christ outward.
His address is bold and inviting, "my brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those among you who are GOd-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent."
This word of salvation. We must not forget what is at stake in this proclamation:salvation.
It points to the gospel for today where JEsus tell us, "do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have faith in me...I am going to prepare a place for you...and if i prepare place for your, i will come back again and take you to myself."
This is what is at stake. Salvation means we belong to Christ and he will come back and take us to himself. Heaven is a prepared place for those prepared.
At the heart of the sermon i would like to direct you to a little phrase of Paul's.
"..they asked Pilate to have him put to death, and when they accomplished all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb."
Now at this point it seems pretty bleak. IT doesn't seem promising nor does it sound like good news.
Paul is speaking about the death of Christ. He has been killed. What is good about this?
Paul continues, "But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee..."
Note the turn in events indicated by that simple little phrase "But God."
But God changes everything. In the midst of human choices and human violence, God continue to act. God does not quit nor give up.
God's plan can not be derailed by men. In the midst of darkness, God's light shine through.
But God is at the heart of the sermon. God always provides and exception to the rule in the game of life.
God cannot be kept down, locked away, buried.
Paul reminds us all that we do not go alone, God journeys with us. God's plan continues to unfold even when things look bleak and disappointing.
God will work with us, through us, and ultimately for us.
"But God", that simple little phrase captures the heart of hopefulness for every believer and non believer alike.
This is what is at stake, "But God raised him..."