The Master of Hindrances (Friday, November 13)

The word of the day is “hindered.”  In our reading of 1 Thessalonians 2:14-19, St. Paul speaks of the hindrances that retrained Paul’s work among the Gentiles of this important port city.  Yet, despite these obstacles, Paul gives thanks to God for their enthusiastic reception of the Gospel.  And he assures them that they are with him in his heart and that he desires to see them face to face (vs. 17.) Hindered from Reaching the Gentiles In our reading, Paul speaks of the frustrating roadblocks to his plans, both human and supernatural. First, there was the opposition of the Judaizers who insisted on the circumcision of Gentile believers.  Paul writes that the Thessalonians had suffered persecution just as the…

Faith, a Relationship and a State of Being (Sun. Nov. 1)

The word of the day is “faith.” Today in our reading of Galatians 2:16-20, St. Paul charges that some believers in Galatia are abandoning their faith in Christ.  These turncoats have fallen under the spell of “Judaizers” from Jerusalem who teach that being Christian means doing all the works of the Mosaic Law. Paul thought that the leaders in Jerusalem had agreed that faith was sufficient for membership in the Church.  But now even Peter had refused to associate with Gentiles who “did not live as Jews” (vs. 14). Paul reacted vehemently.  The Gospel was at stake.  The Apostle’s message was that the works of the Mosaic Law did not and could not justify sinners in God’s sight. God’s approval…

Worship That Ascends to the Throne of God (Thurs. Oct. 22)

The word of the day “Spirit.”  In our reading of Philippians 3:1-8, St. Paul warns again about the Judaizers who would persuade the Philippians to be circumcised to become true Christians. The Apostle cautions that circumcision is merely an outward sign in the physical body, the “flesh.” What counts is the “circumcision of the heart” as the prophet Jeremiah declared” (Jeremiah 4:4).  To this Word of the prophet, Paul adds, “…and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter” (Romans 2:29). Worship Inspired and Empowered by the Spirit If so, then Paul can say without hesitation, “We are the circumcision.”  St. John Chrysostom asks, “Which is superior, the soul or the body?  Evidently the…