Today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles relates the incident in which the citizens of Lystra confused Paul and Barnabas for the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes. I admit that I have often chuckled a bit at the incident. I have studied the mythologies of various cultures because of the role they play in literature. When I was a high school teacher, I always set aside time to acquaint the students with the various pantheons of gods and goddesses that populate the various cultures and literature we studied.
The various gods and the stories connected to them were basically a way for humans to explain the unexplainable. As human understanding of the universe in which we live expanded, the need for these gods and goddesses became less necessary. However, during the apostolic era such beliefs were still present.
In today's world, we tend to idolize celebrities, athletes, and a few political figures from our history. However, I doubt that anyone believes that these people could cure a crippled man with a mere word. Paul and Barnabas were stewards of God's grace, much the same as the clergy of our own day. Throughout the Acts of the Apostles, the sacred writer emphasizes this be recording what God had done through the apostles. God cures. God forgives. God heals. The Church proclaims these truths; it nor its ministers do not effect the cures, the healings, or the forgiveness. Apostles, teachers, administrators, pastors, and those who serve in the Church are only human, carrying about with them all the frailties which other humans possess. Today's reading from Acts reminds us that while we appreciate the service they render, we should not place them on pedestals. It is far too easy to fall off those pedestals.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, Administrator