Reflection materials excerpted from the Chinese edition of the New Testament with Lectio Divina (by Claretian Publications), translated by Fountain of Love and Life
Reflection: How do you choose your travelling companions? When it comes to signs given by God, are you as sensitive as Paul were?
Prayer: Give thanks to God for the special people you have encountered in your life. Also ask God to continue to illuminate your life so that you can discover His will.
Action: Speak nicely of others whenever possible. Do not be afraid of seeking help from others when needs arise.
Acts of the Apostles
Paul in Lycaonia: Timothy.
1 He reached (also) Derbe and Lystra where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him, 3 and Paul wanted him to come along with him. On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they traveled from city to city, they handed on to the people for observance the decisions reached by the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem. 5 Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number.
Through Asia Minor.
6 They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them, 8 so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas. 9 During [the] night Paul had a vision. A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we sought passage to Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
11 We set sail from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, and on the next day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We spent some time in that city. 13 On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. 14 One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. 15 After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.
Imprisonment at Philippi.
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit, who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling. 17 She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18S he did this for many days. Paul became annoyed, turned, and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Then it came out at that moment.
19 When her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to the public square before the local authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These people are Jews and are disturbing our city 21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack on them, and the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 After inflicting many blows on them, they threw them into prison and instructed the jailer to guard them securely. 24 When he received these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and secured their feet to a stake.
Deliverance from Prison.
25 About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, 26 there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew [his] sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted out in a loud voice, “Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” 29 He asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” 32 So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. 33 He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wounds; then he and all his family were baptized at once. 34 He brought them up into his house and provided a meal and with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the lictors with the order, “Release those men.” 36 The jailer reported the[se] words to Paul, “The magistrates have sent orders that you be released. Now, then, come out and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, even though we are Roman citizens and have not been tried, and have thrown us into prison.d And now, are they going to release us secretly? By no means. Let them come themselves and lead us out.” 38 The lictors reported these words to the magistrates, and they became alarmed when they heard that they were Roman citizens.e 39 So they came and placated them, and led them out and asked that they leave the city. 40 When they had come out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house where they saw and encouraged the brothers, and then they left.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
2. Read 16:35-39. What do you think of Paul's tactic of forcing the magistrates to apologize for punishing him and Silas? When is it appropriate to accept an unjust punishment, and when is it appropriate to demand an apology for it?
Paul's 2nd Mission in Macedonia and Philippi
- Paul circumcised Timothy; is he being hypocritical?
- “… forbidden by the Holy Spirit” – the Holy Spirit leads the Church as He has led God's people in the OT.
- Paul's imprisonment with Silas reviews Paul's passion; that he finds joy in suffering and continues to pray to and praise God.
Acts of the Apostles
Paul in Lycaonia: Timothy. / Through Asia Minor. / Into Europe. / Imprisonment at Philippi. / Deliverance from Prison.
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