"My greetings to Mary…to Andronicus and Junias…to Ampliatus…to Urbanus…and...Stachys." —Romans 16:6-9
St. Paul had never been to Rome (Rm 1:10, 13; 15:22-23). Yet he certainly knew many people in the churches of Rome, mentioning by name twenty-six Roman Christians in Romans 16:3-15. Presumably, all of these people had met Paul in their travels to Asia or Judea. The early church had no phones, e-mail, or text messaging. Nonetheless it seems like they networked pretty well. The word of God got around because Christians got around. They started conversations with non-believers. They witnessed everywhere and to everyone. They "risked their lives" to reach people with the word of God (Rm 16:4).
Parents, children (Rm 16:13), and siblings served Jesus together (Rm 16:15). Married couples ministered as a team (Rm 16:3, 15). Households served the Lord (Rm 16:10, 11). Some "risked their lives" (Rm 16:4); others were imprisoned for their faith (Rm 16:7). They "worked hard for the Lord" (Rm 16:6, 12) and "labored long in the Lord's service" (Rm 16:12).
Do Catholics today have the spirit of our ancestors in faith? I've seen too many parishioners get upset because no one brought decaf to the potluck, but does it bother them or us that our parish had only one convert last year? Do we expend all our energy and risk our lives to spread the gospel, or do we sleepwalk through life trying to avoid getting involved? (see Lk 9:23) Do we plan our vacations with the Holy Spirit as our Travel Agent?
People of God, rise up in the Holy Spirit! In the spirit of the first Christians, join together and spread the word of God.
Prayer: Father, may I cherish my brothers and sisters in Christ as St. Paul did. May I be a faithful co-worker for You (1 Cor 3:9).
Promise: "What man thinks important, God holds in contempt." —Lk 16:15
Praise: Pope St. Leo's love of God was reflected in his staunch belief in the Incarnation of Christ.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 3, 2007
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