Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

The announcement of Paul in the Areopagus

Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that … you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world …, 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. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.” When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” Acts 17,22-32

In 1990 we were privileged to be received by John Paul II in his private chapel, together with other world leaders of the Charismatic Renewal. He spoke about the evangelization of the cultures, a subject dear to him and considered several times in different contexts. He said: “It is true that our faith is not identified with any other culture, but it is equally true that it is called to impregnate every culture”. It is the same thought to which Paul was inspired in his speech in the Areopagus of Athens, conscious of being in the heart of the culture of his time, at the presence of epicurean and stoic philosophers. This Paul speech is a wonderful one, all filled by great faith, culture and courage by presenting in full the christian thought, without hiding the “foolishness” and the “scandal” of the cross. It does not matter if, when he spoke of the resurrection, he was told: “We should like to hear you on this some other time”. The gospel has to be presented by starting from the cross and the resurrection. “But we  proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jewis and foolishness to Gentile” (1Cor 1,23) then, Paul will write in a letter to the community of Corinth. The risk of presenting an edulcorated christianity, to make it acceptable to all, is very high also today, in this time of globalization, dominated by the desire to approve every culture. The believers and the church must be courageous and firm in proclaiming the gospel in its entirety.

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