Wellspring of Scripture


Year B: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23


St Paul was not given much choice about becoming an apostle. On the road to Damascus, Jesus had made it absolutely clear that Saul was to leave behind his persecution of the early church and was, in fact, to become one of her leading apostles. The Saul who had approved the killing of Stephen as a blasphemer was to become Paul who was himself to preach the same Kingdom that Stephen had died defending.


It was not an easy life. Paul was imprisoned - beaten - shipwrecked - in fact had every excuse to say that he had done enough, surely now he could stop and hand the mission on to someone else.


Fortunately, he knew that this was to be a life-long calling - God has made it clear that he would be accountable if he did not preach and teach.


It was a demanding task - requiring Paul to draw on all his resources and to adapt his approach so that he could speak to people of different backgrounds and cultures. He made himself “all things to all men” so that all should be saved.


This message continues to echo in the Church - perhaps with renewed vigour. There is a new sense of “inculturation” of the Gospel - that the Good News is big enough to be expressed in different ways in different cultures. This is a risky business - because it could easily lead to fragmentation. It is, however, a necessary one because God did not create us to be clones.

It means that, as we do our bit in spreading the Good News, we too have to follow the the advice offered here:

Our first task in approaching
another person,
another people,
another culture,
another religion
is to take off our shoes
for the place we are approaching is holy.

Else we may find ourselves
treading on another’s dream.

More serious still, we may forget
that God was there before our arrival.


 What does it mean for me?


What kind of approach attracts you - or puts you off?

How does the advice help you in talking to people about your faith?

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