After Paul’s vision where he was implored to “come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9), Paul and his companions sailed from Troas, making a straight run for Samothrace, to Neapolis and Philippi, a district of Macedonia, to continue in the missionary work of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul met a woman called Lydia, a purple cloth dealer from Thyatira. She was also a worshipper of God. Paul’s preaching made an impression on her. Through the help of God, Lydia opened her heart and accepted the message of Paul. She and her household were baptized. In her generosity, Lydia offered an invitation to Paul and his companions and gave them her house as a place of refuge. Paul would return to Lydia’s house and would use her house as a base of operation for his ministry in Macedonia.
Undoubtedly, Lydia’s generosity and faith helped to sustain the preaching of the Gospel, the work of evangelization, and the continuing missionary activities of Paul and his companions. That is what faith does. As people of faith and believers, we are called to be generous and use our gifts, wealth, and connections to support the work of evangelization and missionary activities going on around us.
The Advocate, The Spirit of Truth
In the Gospel, Jesus told His disciples that when the Advocate comes, the Spirit of truth, He would testify to Him and aid His disciples to testify to Him, too. Missionary activities are possible thanks to the power and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul tells us, “No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). The Pentecost event fulfilled the promise of Christ of sending the Advocate. Before the Pentecost event, the apostles were timid and afraid. They stayed under lock and key for fear of the Jews. However, after the Pentecost experience, the Apostles were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. They were emboldened. They witnessed and proclaimed the Gospel with enthusiasm, determination, great strength, courage, and conviction. They were no longer afraid to confront the authority of the Pharisees.
Also, in the Gospel passage, Jesus intimated to the disciples the difficulties and challenges of missionary activities. One of the difficulties and challenges is the persecution those involved in missionary activities are subjected to. Jesus highlighted this when He told His disciples, “They will expel you from the synagogues; the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.” Unfortunately, we would be unable to embrace and withstand the persecutions that come with missionary activities if we do not open our hearts to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can give us the courage to face the persecution and other challenges of missionary activities and works of evangelization.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!
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