thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Perga in Pamphylia, Antioch in Pisidia – sometimes you have to feel sorry for the lectors! The Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of Paul are filled with recitation of the name of places and individuals and many of them are unfamiliar tongue twisters for our good lectors.
Challenges of pronunciation aside, I like all these names. They remind me that these events happened to real people in ordinary places. I think sometimes that it is easy to forge this when reading Scripture. The events described happened so long ago, that it may seem like another world. But the fact is that the first proclamation of the faith happened to people just like us in the midst of all the challenges of making a living, getting through illness, educating the kids, and surviving all the large and small challenges of daily living. Those folks heard the testimony of Paul and opened their hearts and their lives to a relationship with Jesus Christ. We remember so many of those places and people because that same faith has been passed, person to person, generation to generation across a vast amount of time and space. They made it possible for you and I to hear that word and open our hearts.
In the Italian tradition of the “presepio” the scene of the birth of Christ is depicted in a replica of the town where the family lives – a reminder that Christ is just as present here and now as He ever was in Bethlehem. So today I am hearing about Perga, but I am praying for the believers in Patchogue and Huntington, Massapequa and Smithtown, Oyster Bay and Riverhead, and so many other places on this island of ours where Jesus Christ is risen and where His Word is spoken to our hearts. I pray that all of us receive and pass that life giving relationship to the next generation.