Fr. Larry Richards is the founder and president of The Reason for our Hope Foundation, a non- profit organization dedicated to "spreading the Good News" by educating others about Jesus Christ. His new homilies are posted each week.
Manage episode 302815098 series 1019510
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The last half of Acts 17 features the famous account of Paul at Mars Hill, which was an ancient center of idolatry and philosophy. The people of Athens had grown tired of religion. The gods took and demanded all the more, but never gave. Philosophy grew out of this desire to carve a path for people to live peacefully, and hopefully skirt the attention of the gods. However, tradition reminded them that there was no avoiding the gods. Their own consciences felt tethered to idols and idolatry, knowing the only hope beyond this life rested in the gods’ hands. Enter the Apostle Paul, who steps into this place of unrest and yearning. Mars Hill was named after the Roman god of war, but the name was also appropriate seeing the battle the people of Athens were in at heart. They wanted to break free from their bondage to idols and emptiness. Acts 17 is a marvelous portrayal of effective and intentional evangelism. Paul swallows his pride and seeks a connection with the people. His words from 17:24-28 are especially powerful. Paul’s words offer us freedom from the idols of this world that we have settled for and set our hopes on. We feel obligated to chase after this world for power, peace, and purpose. We’re often convinced there’s no other route to satisfaction and fulfillment. Paul calls us to lift our eyes to the heavens and see that there is a God detached from the material and circumstantial. Paul reminds us that the idols we serve don’t bear God’s image, however we do. We are made by Him and for Him, and we live through Him. There is freedom for all of us if we realize this innate connection we have with God and how Jesus is proof that we belong to Him. Acts 17 can bless all of us and give us liberty as it did many in Paul’s audience that day, pointing the way to the completion found in our Creator.