Acts 17:15,22-18:1; Ps 148 Heaven and earth are full of your glory; John 16:12-15
Commotion after commotion followed in the footsteps of St. Paul. Everywhere he went to preach the gospel message, he encountered opposition.
In each city through the chapter of 17, men stir up trouble to get St. Paul out of town. This is why we encounter Paul with escorts at the beginning of today's reading.
Paul has found himself in Europe preaching the gospel message. He has covered a lot of ground.
Now he arrived near mount Olympus, where the great names of ancient greece were held with reverence and their gods were honored.
So many gods, so little time, could easily describe the greeks. They wanted to make sure they had all of their bases covered, so not only did they have shrines to named and known gods but also to unknown, unnamed gods, just in case they left one out.
As st. Paul states plainly, "You Athenians, I see that in ever respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, "to an Unknown God."
Paul seizing such a golden opportunity, continues, "what therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is He who gives to everyone life and breath and everything...In him we live, move, and have our being..."
Paul give a beautiful homily on the greatness of God just when he held their attention in the palm of his hands, he blows it.
That's right he blew it. He blew it because he mentioned the truth. He mentioned the dreaded word: resurrection, "by raising him from the dead."
Who would have thought the resurrection would be such a deal breaker.
Even today there is opposition. I encounter people all the time who insist that this world is as good as it gets. They may romantically think about life beyond the grave , but nothing i their lifestyle suggest it to be a real part of their existence.
There are some who think the resurrection of the dead is far fetched. It is a made up story or concoction to control people.
There are others who love the idea of an unknown god, unknown gods are a safe bet, no string attached.
But if the resurrection is true, then all of a sudden God becomes not only known but alive. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.
That is why the greeks were hesitant. It was one thing to honor gods with shrines and please them with sacrifices and offerings; it is another ballgame to have to listen and be led and please a living God with one's life.
The unknown god is a safe bet; the god os the resurrection isn't so safe. Things have to change if God has power over death. Change isn't so comfortable.
What about us? Do we treat God has if he were alive? Do we trust in the power of the resurrection? Does our life reflect the reality of the resurrection?
Does it cause commotion in our life, a God that is a live and God that brings forth resurrection? It should!