Table of Contents Evangelical Catholic

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INTRODUCTION,ST PAUL AND HIS WORLD,For us Paul is not a figure of the past. whom we remember with veneration,He is our teacher an Apostle. and herald of Jesus Christ for us too,Pope Benedict XVI. Introduction, T his Follow Jesus study is dedicated to the study of the great St Paul. His mark on the Church is well documented through countless ar. tistic pieces multitudes of Christian Churches named in his honor and. reams of books and articles that wrestle with his thought The artistry. of St Peter s Basilica in the center of Vatican City also reveals his. mark Lining the roof of the basilica are statues of the first apostles. as if looking down upon St Peter s square Two prominent apostles. are not among these statues on the roof however St Peter s statue. is set apart and stands to the left of the main entrance to the basilica. His statue is much more dominant in stature than those on the roof. Strikingly St Paul s statue matches St Peter s prominence on the other. side of the entrance a powerful statement of St Paul s authority and. centrality in Christianity St Peter was the leader of the early Church. and the Apostle to the Jews St Paul was chosen by the Lord to be the. Apostle to the Gentiles to the known world beyond the Jewish com. munity Together Sts Peter and Paul represent the universality of the. Church s mission to the world The statue of St Peter holds the keys. of the Kingdom of God that Jesus figuratively gave him in the Gospel. according to St Matthew St Paul holds a sword The sword sculpted. into Paul s hand traditionally represents both Paul s eventual behead. ing and also the Sword of the Spirit the Word of God which he. wielded as a missionary and continues to wield as our teacher apostle. and herald, With a full one third of the New Testament books in Holy Scripture.
claiming his authorship he is our great teacher As one commissioned. by Jesus himself to establish the early Church he is our apostle By. his words which continue to pierce the world with the light of the. Gospel he is our herald So great is the influence of St Paul upon the. Church that we have four feast days dedicated to honor his life dur. ing the liturgical year one for his Conversion January 25 one for his. Shipwreck February 10 one dedicated for both Sts Peter and Paul. June 29 and one for the dedication of the Basilicas of St Peter and. St Paul Outside the Walls November 18,Saint Paul and his World. In this six weeks of Conformed to Christ we enter an unfamiliar and fas. cinating world A clairvoyant slave girl follows St Paul around town. yelling about him An excited crowd mistakes St Paul and his miss. ionary partner Silas for Greek gods A miraculous earthquake frees. Paul and Barnabas from imprisonment There is even a shipwreck. All this and many other tales are told in the book of Acts Full of. stories of Paul s travels to Ephesus Philippi Galatia Rome and other. places this book tells of the people and places St Paul evangelized. and to whom he wrote his famous letters These letters were collected. by the church and became the Pauline epistles of the New Testament. from which we will also read Epistle is from the Latin word for let. All of these stories and letters reveal Paul s intense love for Christ and. for the people to whom he brought the good news of Christianity In. the midst of temptation trial and torture he proclaims the love of. God in Christ Even while in the Philippian prison Paul revealed his. steadfast commitment to Christ when he wrote For to me to live is. Christ to die is gain If he lived he looked forward to laboring for. Christ with his Christian brothers and sisters If he died his faith as. sured him the gain of eternal life with Christ Paul s zeal and faith. even in the face of cultural pressures inspired the earliest Christians. and continues to speak to Christians in our age It will be helpful for. your discussions however to understand some of the cultural dynam. ics of Paul s time in order to draw deeper meaning from his life. Three different cultures influenced the early church described in Acts. Jewish Greek and Roman A little information about these will help. us understand what we are reading St Paul Jewish himself became. the apostle to the gentiles Gentiles were everyone who was not Jewish. Because Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world in. the fourth century before Christ many people spoke Greek and prac. ticed Greek religions,Introduction, In the cities temples dedicated to various Greek gods were the centers. of worship The god considered a protector of a city would have a. large temple and following This was the case in Ephesus with Ar. temis goddess of the hunt In Acts 19 we read of silversmiths anger. because Paul and his missionary team drew people away from the wor. ship of Artemis This depleted their customer base for silver idols. The silversmiths started a riot by accusing St Paul of proclaiming a. foreign god Jesus Christ, In week four of Conformed to Christ when the people of Lystra. mistake St Paul and Barnabas for the Greek gods Hermes and Zeus it. sounds strange to us now Yet it is understandable that they would try. to classify St Paul s miraculous powers within familiar religious catego. ries The clash and confusion between the monotheism of Judaism. and the polytheism of Hellenistic culture appears repeatedly through. Though St Paul was Jewish as of course were Jesus all his apostles. and probably most of his earliest disciples we read in Acts of the Jews. persecuting Paul after his conversion to Christianity They often accuse. him of false teaching and get him in trouble with the law Though it. seems that Jews and Jewish Christians co existed in the synagogues in. the early days of Christianity eventually Christians were considered a. heretical branch of the faith Especially after the destruction of the. second temple by the Romans in 70 A D Judaism struggled to main. tain its identity Divergent strains of thought such as Christianity were. a danger to the very survival of their faith, The law of the day was under the Roman emperor In Acts we meet. many Roman officials and soldiers usually because Paul has been ar. rested yet again As a Roman citizen St Paul had certain rights and. privileges including the right to take his legal case before the emperor. The end of Acts tells of Paul s travels to Rome to undergo trial there. Tradition holds that he died there,Saint Paul and his World.
Was Paul only Talking to Men, Conformed to Christ uses the Revised Standard Version of the. Bible RSV because it is endorsed by the Magisterium of the. Catholic Church as a valid translation and is no longer under copy. right as is the New American Bible Revised Edition NABRE from. which we read in church Because the RSV is older it contains. some older translation traditions For example it uses the term. brothers where newer translations might use brothers and sisters. New Testament Greek like Spanish and other romance languages uses. the masculine form for any group that contains men For example. there could be six sisters and one brother and the Spanish would still. be los hermanos Similarly the Koine Greek would be adelphos. There is no equivalent to this in English We never denote a group. of brothers and sisters by the word brothers We might use the word. siblings to refer to brothers and sisters but we would not use it as a. form of address Greetings siblings sounds silly, Except in circumstances where there may well have only been men. such as on board the ship during the storm we can safely assume Paul. speaks both to men and women even if your Bible s translation says. brothers He must have preached to them and evangelized them. because Acts tells of women converts to the faith such as Lydia the. purple dyer and Priscilla or Prisca who runs a house Church with her. husband Aquila, Many people experiment with changing brothers to brothers and. sisters when they read these passages Members of your group may. feel so inclined,Introduction,Pope Benedict XVI St Paul Continues to Speak. The following excerpt is taken from Pope Benedict s June 28 2008. homily to open the Catholic Church s Jubilee Year to St Paul. For us Paul is not a figure of the past whom we remember with ven. eration He is also our teacher an apostle and herald of Jesus Christ. for us too, Thus we are not gathered to reflect on past history irrevocably be.
hind us Paul wants to speak to us today Let us not ask ourselves. only who was Paul Let us ask ourselves above all who is Paul What. does he say to me, In the Letter to the Galations St Paul gives a very personal profes. sion of faith in which he opens his heart to readers of all times and. reveals what was the most intimate drive of his life I live by faith in. the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me Gal 2 20. All Paul s actions begin from this centre His faith is the experience of. being loved by Jesus Christ in a very personal way It is awareness of. the fact that Christ did not face death for something anonymous but. rather for love of him of Paul and that as the Risen One he still. loves him in other words Christ gave himself for him Paul s faith is. being struck by the love of Jesus Christ a love that overwhelms him. to his depths and transforms him His faith is not a theory an opinion. about God and the world His faith is the impact of God s love in his. heart Thus this same faith was love for Jesus Christ. As we enter into this six week series together let us open ourselves. to be impacted along with Paul by the love of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus lived died and rose from the dead so that we could know and. experience this great love Like Paul we look to Jesus in order to be. transformed by this truth God knows our name and gave his Son for. each of us so that we could live abundant fulfilled lives in Him. Those who belong to Christ Jesus,have crucified the flesh. with its passions and desires,Galatians 5 24,Opening Prayer. Have someone read the following passage of Scripture and the follow. ing prayer aloud for our opening prayer,Colossians 1 1 6. Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Timothy. our brother 2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colos sae. Grace to you and peace from God our Father 3We always thank God. the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you 4because. we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you. have for all the saints 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth the gospel. which has come to you as indeed in the whole world it is bearing. fruit and growing so among yourselves from the day you heard and. understood the grace of God in truth, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Dear God We ask for the grace to become like the Colossians Build. up our faith through our conversation Help us to love one another. and our neighbor so that all will know the good fruit borne from life in. Christ Jesus Help us to nurture the hope you offer in Christ through. an intimate relationship with Him in prayer and sacrament Allow us. to be touched and changed by Paul s example and teaching about the. way a follower of Christ should live Make us a people of hope We. ask these things through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns. with you for ever and ever AMEN,Introduction,Read aloud. At the time St Paul wrote the word saints didn t refer to those who. had been officially beatified or canonized No such procedure yet ex. isted St Paul used the word saints to refer to all Christians The. Greek word is also sometimes translated as holy ones. Paul s Life and Mission,Have someone read the following passage aloud. Paul s Life and Mission Acts 16 16 34 set in Philippi. As we were going to the place of prayer we were met by a slave girl. who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain. by soothsaying 17She followed Paul and us crying These men are. servants of the Most High God who proclaim to you the way of sal. vation 18And this she did for many days But Paul was annoyed and. turned and said to the spirit I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ. to come out of her And it came out that very hour 19But when her. owners saw that their hope of gain was gone they seized Paul and Silas. and dragged them into the market place before the rulers 20and when. they had brought them to the magistrates they said These men are. Jews and they are disturbing our city 21They advocate customs which it. is not lawful for us Romans to accept or practice 22The crowd joined. in attacking them and the magistrates tore the garments off them. and gave orders to beat them with rods 23And when they had inflicted. many blows upon them they threw them into prison charging the. jailer to keep them safely 24Having received this charge he put them. into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks 25But about. midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and. the prisoners were listening to them 26and suddenly there was a great. earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and. immediately all the doors were opened and every one s fetters were. unfastened 27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were. St Paul holds a sword The sword sculpted into Paul s hand traditionally represents both Paul s eventual behead ing and also the Sword of the Spirit the Word of God which he wielded as a missionary and continues to wield as our teacher apostle and herald With a full one third of the New Testament books in Holy Scripture claiming his authorship he is our great teacher As one

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