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Monday, May 18, 1998

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Pope St. John I

Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149
John 15:26—16:4

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house calls

"After she and her household had been baptized, she extended us an invitation: 'If you are convinced that I believe in the Lord, come and stay at my house.' She managed to prevail on us." —Acts 16:15

Paul, being a good Jew, had never stayed at a Gentile's house in his life. However, Jesus led Paul to preach that Gentiles were in Christ, "now co-heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and sharers of the promise through the preaching of the gospel" (Eph 3:6). This message aroused such opposition in Jews that Paul was repeatedly attacked and imprisoned for preaching such a thing. Paul also was challenged to live out his own preaching by treating Christian Gentiles as brothers and sisters — even staying in their houses. This would make Jews feel much worse than uncomfortable. It could also expose them to severe punishment from other Jews. Jewish Christians paid a great price when they stayed in a Gentile's house. Therefore, when Paul and his companions stayed at Lydia's house and ate in the home of the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:15, 34), they were dying to themselves and losing their lives (Lk 9:23-24).

Who are the untouchables you must touch because you are a Christian? Whom must you invite into your family and community because you are their brothers and sisters in Christ? When you became Christian, did you become catholic, that is, including all the members of the body of Christ?

Prayer:  Father, make my community so Christian that it is catholic.

Promise:  "I have told you these things that when their hour comes you may remember My telling you of them." —Jn 16:4

Praise:  Pope St. John I preached love even for heretical Arians and died of starvation from his imprisonment for "treason." "Blest are you who hunger; you shall be filled" (Lk 6:20-21).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997