How Pretexts Hide Motives and How to Avoid Them (Mon. June 7)

The word of the day is “pretext.”  Evil comes in many disguises.  One of these is to hide one’s motives under the cloak of pretext.  This tactic of wickedness misleads others into believing that the reasons for one’s actions are good and genuine.  Today in our reading of Acts 17:1-15, we find that envious Jews stir up a mob in Thessalonica. The crowd drags the host of Paul and Silas to the pagan rulers of the city.  They charge that Jason and the followers of Christ have acted “contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king–Jesus” (OSB vs. 7). Today we exam this example of a pretext and find that pretexts are based on motives, the motivations…

How the Term “Liturgy” Enriches our Understanding of Worship (Tues. June 1)

The word of the day is “liturgy.”  In our age of individualism, most of us think of worship as a private matter.  It is our choice whether to attend worship or not.  And that decision is based on what we can “get out” of our participation.  But in today’s reading of  Acts 17:1-15, we hear how the church in Antioch “set apart” Barnabas and Paul for their missionary work.  This endorsement and empowerment of their ministry was made in the context of worship, that is, “liturgy.” Luke reports, “As they [the church in Antioch] ministered to the Lord and fasted,” the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and  Saul for the work to which I have called them”…