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Spreading the Christian Message: Acts of the Apostles Comunicación y Gerencia March 31, 2007 – Center for Religion & Spirituality – LMU Extension Fr. Felix.

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Presentation on theme: "Spreading the Christian Message: Acts of the Apostles Comunicación y Gerencia March 31, 2007 – Center for Religion & Spirituality – LMU Extension Fr. Felix."— Presentation transcript:

1 Spreading the Christian Message: Acts of the Apostles Comunicación y Gerencia March 31, 2007 – Center for Religion & Spirituality – LMU Extension Fr. Felix Just, s.j.

2 Unlike the rest of the liturgical year, the first reading at each Sunday liturgy during Easter Season is not taken from Old Testament, but from Acts of the Apostles. Why? What message do these texts have for us today? What can these stories about the growth of Christianity in the first century teach us about our role in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in our own world? The Acts of the Apostles in the Lectionary Readings of the Easter Season

3 Readings from Acts in the Lectionary for Mass Christmas Vigil – Years ABC –Acts 13:16-17, – Barnabas & Paul preach in Antioch of Pisidia Baptism of the Lord – Years ABC –Acts 10:34-38 – Peter Preaches about Jesus to Cornelius’ Household

4 Readings from Acts in the Lectionary for Mass (cont.) Weekdays in Easter Season– First Reading –Easter Octave: Acts 2–4 (selections) –Easter Week 2: Acts 4–6 (selections) –Easter Week 3: Acts 6–9 (selections) –Easter Week 4: Acts 11–13 (selections) –Easter Week 5: Acts 14–16 (selections) –Easter Week 6: Acts 16–18 (selections) –Easter Week 7: Acts 19–28 (selections)

5 Readings from Acts in the Lectionary for Mass (cont.) Sunday / FeastYear AYear BYear C Easter SundayActs 10:34a, 37-43(same as in Year A) 2nd SundayActs 2:42-47Acts 4:32-35Acts 5: rd SundayActs 2:14, 22-33Acts 3:13-15, 17-19Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 4th SundayActs 2:14a, 36-41Acts 4:8-12Acts 13:14, th SundayActs 6:1-7Acts 9:26-31Acts 14: th SundayActs 8:5-8, 14-17Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, Acts 15:1-2, AscensionActs 1:1-11(same as in Year A) [ 7th Sunday]Acts 1:12-14Acts 1:15-17, 20ac-26Acts 7:55-60 PentecostActs 2:1-11(same as in Year A)

6 Readings from Acts in the Lectionary – Year A Sunday /FeastFirst Reading – Year A Easter (ABC) Acts 10:34a, – Peter to Cornelius: Jesus Sent Apostles to Preach 2nd SundayActs 2:42-47 – Communal Life of Believers in Jerusalem 3rd SundayActs 2:14, – Peter Preaches at Pentecost (excerpt: Jesus & David) 4th SundayActs 2:14a, – Peter’s Speech at Pentecost (Repent & Be Baptized) 5th SundayActs 6:1-7 – Appointment of Seven Hellenists as Community Servants 6th SundayActs 8:5-8, – Philip Evangelizes Samaria; Apostles Concur Ascension (ABC) Acts 1:1-11 – Promise of Holy Spirit and Ascension of Jesus [ 7th Sunday ]Acts 1:12-14 – Jerusalem Community: Apostles, Women, Jesus’ Family Pentecost (ABC) Acts 2:1-11 – Holy Spirit Comes upon Disciples at Pentecost

7 Sunday /FeastFirst Reading – Year B Easter (ABC) Acts 10:34a, – Peter to Cornelius: Jesus Sent Apostles to Preach 2nd SundayActs 4:32-35 – Unity & Sharing in Community of Believers 3rd SundayActs 3:13-15, – Peter Preaches in Temple: God Has Glorified Jesus 4th SundayActs 4:8-12 – Peter’s Speech before Sanhedrin 5th SundayActs 9:26-31 – Saul (Paul) Visits and Preaches in Jerusalem 6th SundayActs 10:25-26, 34-35, – Cornelius’ Family Receives H.Sp. & Baptism Ascension (ABC) Acts 1:1-11 – Promise of Holy Spirit and Ascension of Jesus [ 7th Sunday ]Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26 – Choice of Another Apostle to Replace Judas Pentecost (ABC) Acts 2:1-11 – Holy Spirit Comes upon Disciples at Pentecost Readings from Acts in the Lectionary – Year B

8 Readings from Acts in the Lectionary – Year C Sunday /FeastFirst Reading – Year C Easter (ABC) Acts 10:34a, – Peter to Cornelius: Jesus Sent Apostles to Preach 2nd SundayActs 5:12-16 – Signs & Wonders Performed by Apostles 3rd SundayActs 5:27-32, 40b-41 – Trial of Apostles before Sanhedrin 4th SundayActs 13:14, – Barnabas and Paul Preach in Antioch of Pisidia 5th SundayActs 14:21-27 – Barnabas and Paul Conclude First Mission 6th SundayActs 15:1-2, – Letter of Apostles after Council of Jerusalem Ascension (ABC) Acts 1:1-11 – Promise of Holy Spirit and Ascension of Jesus [ 7th Sunday ]Acts 7:55-60 – Martyrdom of Stephen Pentecost (ABC) Acts 2:1-11 – Holy Spirit Comes upon Disciples at Pentecost

9 Acts of the Apostles: Outline Luke’s Prologue: Summary of end of Luke’s Gospel (1:1-14) Early Days of Church in Jerusalem (1:15–8:3) Christianity Spreads thru Judea and Samaria (8:4–12:25) Barnabas & Saul/Paul Sent from Antioch (13:1–14:28) Council of Jerusalem: Gentile Xn Converts (15:1-35) Mission Journeys to Greece & Asia Minor (15:36–20:38) Paul Returns to Jerusalem; prison in Caesarea (21:1–26:32) Paul Taken as Prisoner to Rome (27:1–28:31) Paul in Rome, Continues Preaching about Jesus (28:17-31)

10 Acts: Literary Issues Abbrev (Length): Acts (28 chapters / 1005 verses / words in Greek) Author: No attribution in book; traditionally ascribed to "Luke", physician & companion of Paul (Col 4:4; 2 Tim 4:11; Phlm 24); well-educated Greek writer, probably Gentile heritage Authenticity: Definitely by same author as Gospel of Luke Recipients: "Theophilus" (1:1); well-educated Greek; or group familiar with Paul's teachings Date: Late 80's; shortly after Luke’s Gospel Where From: Unknown, possibly Antioch in Syria Unity/Integrity: Single work, but compiled from multiple older sources (see Luke 1:1-4) Literary Genre: Record of "acts"; partial account of growth of early Xnty, focusing on certain Apostles Language: Good literary Greek; quoted speeches use various Greek styles Purpose: Continue the "orderly account" begun in Luke’s Gospel, showing growth of Christianity

11 Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” –Acts 1–7: preaching of the apostles and growth of the Church in Jerusalem. –Acts 8–12: spread of Church to other parts of Judea and Samaria (and nearby Syria). –Acts 13–28: expansion of Christian mission to “the ends of the earth,” esp. to Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome, capital and center of Roman empire.

12 “Acts of the Holy Spirit” As in Luke’s Gospel, most of the action within the Acts of the Apostles is inspired/guided by God’s Spirit: Jesus instructs apostles “through the Holy Spirit” (1:2). First disciples are “baptized with the Holy Spirit” at Pentecost (1:5, 8; 2:1-4; 11:15-16). Apostles are “full of/filled with” the Holy Spirit, esp. when they preach (1:8; 2:4; 4:8, 31; 11:24; 13:9, 52). Holy Spirit also spoke thru King David and prophets in Israel (1:16; 4:25; 28:25). God “will pour out” his Spirit on all people in the last days (2:17-18, 33; 10:45).

13 “Acts of the Holy Spirit” (cont.) Believers, even Gentiles, receive the Holy Spirit when they repent and are baptized (2:38; 15:8; 19:5-6). Sometimes receiving the Holy Spirit even precedes baptism (10:44-48). Some people “test,” “lie to,” “oppose” the Holy Spirit, with dire consequences (5:1-11; 7:51). Deacons/ministers must be “full of the Spirit” (6:1-6), esp. when they prophesy (6:10; 7:55-59; 11:28; 21:4). Spirit is conferred by “laying on of hands” (8:17-19; 9:17; 19:6). Spirit “speaks to” the apostles & prophets (8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:1-4; 21:11). Spirit leads & guides decisions & actions of Christian leaders (15:28; 16:6-7; 19:21; 20:22-23).

14 Christian Theology in the Speeches of Acts Many sermons & speeches given by apostles (esp. by Peter and Paul) in various contexts summarize early Christian preaching in Acts: 2:14-413:12-264:8-125:29-327:2-538: : : : : :1-720: :1-2123:1-624: :1-2328:23-28

15 Theology in Speeches: Summary / Outline Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah, Christ, sent by God, –as promised in the Scriptures, as foretold by the prophets, –for the forgiveness of sins, for the salvation of the world; He was rejected by people, condemned by authorities; –he suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. Yet God exalted him on high, raised him up to new life; –and he will one day return to us in glory. In response, people must repent, believe, be baptized, –receive the Holy Spirit, and join the community of believers.

16 Community Life of the First Disciples Communal life of early believers in Jerusalem: After Peter preaches to a crowd at Pentecost, many become believers & are baptized: –“They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching (didache) and fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) –More description of common life (Acts 2:43-47) More about sharing property (Acts 4:32-35) –Two examples of sharing: –Positive: Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37) –Negative: Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)

17 Parallels between Apostles and Jesus The Apostles in ActsJesus in Luke's Gospel Holy Spirit on apostles at Pentecost (2:1-4)Holy Spirit on Jesus at baptism (3:21-22) Peter preaches, quoting from prophet Joel (2:16-36; quoting Joel 2:28-32) Jesus preaches, after reading from prophet Isaiah (4:14-30; quoting Isa 61:1-2) Apostles call people to join them (2:37-41, 47b)Jesus calls his first followers (5:1-11, 27-32) Peter and John heal a lame beggar (3:1-10)Jesus heals a blind beggar (18:35-43) High priest arrests some apostles & questions them before the council (4:1-22) Jesus is arrested & interrogated by the council (22:47-71) Narrator summarizes “signs and wonders” of apostles, especially healings & exorcisms (5:12-16; 8:6-7, 13) Narrator summarizes miraculous activity of Jesus, esp. healings & exorcisms (4:40-41; 6:17-19) The sick are healed thru Peter's shadow (5:15) & Paul's handkerchiefs (19:11-12) A woman is healed when she touches fringes of Jesus' clothing (8:43-48) Jewish leaders want to kill the apostles, because of their teachings (5:17-42) Jewish leaders plot to kill Jesus, partly due to his teachings (19:45-48)

18 More Parallels of Apostles and Jesus The Apostles in ActsJesus in Luke's Gospel Peter raises Tabitha from the dead (9:36-42)Jesus raises a widow's son (7:11-17) Apostles meet a Roman centurion (10:1-48)Jesus heals son of a Roman centurion (7:1-10) Paul goes to Jerusalem, despite dangers that await him there (19:21; 21:8-17) Jesus goes to Jerusalem, despite dangers that await him there (9:51; 13:33; 19:11-28) Paul is welcomed in Jerusalem by believers, and soon goes to the temple (21:17-26) Jesus is welcomed in Jerusalem by large crowds, and soon goes to the temple (19:28-48) Paul seized by a Jewish mob; later on trial before Roman governors (21:30-36; 23:23–26:32) Jesus arrested by a Jewish mob; later tried by Roman procurator (22:47-54; 23:1-25) Paul argues against Sadducees, who do not believe in resurrection (23:6-9) Jesus is questioned by Sadducees, who dispute concept of resurrection (20:29-38) Paul takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and eats (27:35; cf. 20:7-11) Jesus takes bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to disciples to eat (27:35; cf. 24:30) As he’s stoned, Stephen hands his spirit over to Jesus & forgives his executioners (7:59-60) As he’s dying, Jesus forgives his executioners & hands his spirit over to God (23:34, 46)

19 Parallels between Peter and Paul 1 st half (Acts 1-12), early Church in/near Jerusalem –focuses on leadership of Peter (and John) 2 nd half (Acts 13-28), expansion of Church into non- Jewish areas of Roman Empire –focuses on Barnabas & Paul (and their associates) Yet some overlap: –Paul (named Saul before 13:9) is introduced as early as 7:58, and also 8:1-3; 9:1-30; 11: –Peter (called Simon in 10:17-18, 32; Simeon in 15:14) is still a key player at “Council of Jerusalem” (15:1-35), although leadership of James in Jerusalem church is now more evident (15:13-21; cf. 21:18).

20 Parallels between Peter and Paul (cont.) Paul calls himself “apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom 11:13) and calls Peter “apostle to the circumcised” (Rom 2:8) Yet in Acts, both convert both Jews & Gentiles: –Peter preaches mainly to Jews, but is also involved in conversion of some Samaritans (8:14-25) & of Cornelius, a Roman centurion (10:1–11:1-18). –Paul works mainly among Gentiles, but normally begins in a new town by preaching in local synagogue to fellow Jews (13:5, 14, 44; 14:1; 17:1; 18:4; etc.).

21 Easter Sunday (ABC) Acts 10:34a, – Peter to Cornelius: –God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with Holy Spirit & power –We are witnesses of all He did in Judea & Jerusalem –They put him to death; God raised Him on the third day –He appeared to us, chosen witnesses; ate & drank with us –He sent us to preach –All who believe in Him receive forgiveness of sins

22 2nd Sunday of Easter (C) Acts 5:12-16 – Many signs & wonders are performed by the Apostles –They gathered in Solomon’s Portico (in Jerus. Temple) –The Lord added great numbers of believers –Peter’s shadow heals the sick in the streets –Many people bring the sick & demoniacs Massacio, 1426, Florence

23 3rd Sunday of Easter (C) Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 – Trial of the Apostles –Apostles arrested & brought before Sanhedrin –Questioned by High Priest (ref. back to 4:1-21) –Peter: “We must obey God rather than men” –You killed Jesus, but God raised/exalted him; –We are witnesses, as is the Holy Spirit –[ Lect. omits Gamaliel’s speech ] –Apostles dismissed & rejoice Jacques Tissot ( )

24 4th Sunday of Easter (C) Acts 13:14, – Barnabas & Paul Preach –Antioch of Pisidia (south-central Turkey) –Preach on sabbath in synagogue –Week later, controversy with Jews –Apostle turn toward Gentiles –Word of God continues to spread –Paul & Barnabas opposed/expelled –Disciples filled with Joy & H.S.

25 5th Sunday of Easter (C) Acts 14:21-27 – Mission to the Gentiles –Barnabas & Paul leave Derbe, revisit new Churches (cf. 13:13—14:20) in Lystra, Iconium, Pisidian Antioch –Strengthen the disciples; warn about hardships –Appoint presbyters/elders in each Church; pray & fast –Go back to Syrian Antioch report to Church all about their Mission to Gentiles

26 6th Sunday of Easter (C) Acts 15:1-2, – Council of Jerusalem –Controversy in Antioch: Must Gentiles be circumcised? –Paul & Barnabas visit apostles & elders in Jerusalem –[ Lectionary omits most of the council’s deliberations ] –Apostles write a letter, summarizing their conclusions: Send Barsabbas & Silas back with Paul & Barnabas. Gentiles do NOT need to keep full Mosaic Law. Just refrain from blood, idolatry, and immorality.

27 Ascension of the Lord (ABC) Acts 1:1-11 – The Promise of the Holy Spirit and Ascension of Jesus –Luke to Theophilus: brief review of Gospel –Disciples: “Kingdom? When?” –Jesus: “You’ll receive Holy Spirit” –You’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, ends of the earth –Jesus ascends to heaven –Two men in white: “Why look up? Jesus will return!”

28 [ 7th Sunday of Easter – C] Acts 7:55-60 – The Martyrdom of Stephen

29 Pentecost Sunday (ABC) Acts 2:1-11 – Coming of the Holy Spirit

30 Acts of the Apostles First Apostles –Filled with Holy Spirit –“Sent Out” to Preach Good News Today’s Apostles –Are We Filled with the Spirit? –What Do We Preach (in words & actions)? Questions? Discussion?

31 Unlike the rest of the liturgical year, the first reading at each Sunday liturgy during Easter Season is not taken from Old Testament, but from Acts of the Apostles. Why? What message do these texts have for us today? What can these stories about the growth of Christianity in the first century teach us about our role in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in our own world? The Acts of the Apostles in the Lectionary Readings of the Easter Season


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