In today’s First Reading Paul arrives in Philippi, his first missionary stop in Europe after spending time evangelizing Asia Minor. In Saturday‘s First Reading we saw the Spirit urging Paul to head to Macedonia, and Philippi is the biggest city in that district. The culture is no longer predominantly Jewish; in Paul’s time, when there weren’t enough Jewish families to found a synagogue, the Jews of the town would go to pray in a spot outside of it instead, which is why Paul goes to the most likely spot today where Jews would gather in order to share the Gospel with them.
Luke recalls this momentous occasion because Paul does find people there who believe and are baptized. We know that a thriving Christian community begins there, which is why Paul sends them a letter that we still have today in the canon of Scripture: the Letter to the Philippians.
The Holy Spirit sent Paul to Philippi, and also prepared those living there to welcome the Gospel preached by Paul. The Spirit was able to use Paul’s astuteness and Lydia’s faith to found a Christian community. Let’s ask the Spirit today how we can use our talents to help spread the Gospel.
Readings: Acts 16:11–15; Psalm 149:1b–6a, 9b; John 15:26–16:4a. See also 6th Week of Easter, Monday.