Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 12:24-13:5a; John 12:44-50)
It seems odd to read that the Holy Spirit spoke to the community worshipping in Antioch. The Spirit inspires and emboldens, but how can he talk? Perhaps we should not take the words literally. Rather, we need to understand that the Holy Spirit directs all the action in the Acts of the Apostles.
Certainly the Spirit’s instructions here are in line with the general story. Barnabas and Paul are set apart for a preaching mission. The Acts of the Apostles, which begins in Jerusalem, is bringing its chief preacher to far-off Rome. From that hub of civilization new missionary expeditions, not recorded in Acts' narrative, will be launched throughout the world.
Those journeys will proceed until the end of time. Even if someday the whole world converts to Christ, there will still be need for more penetrating journeys inward. A missionary in the overwhelmingly Muslim country of Bangladesh once was asked how many converts he had many. The missionary said just one – he had become a better Christian. As we tell others about Christ, we also should not fail to prod ourselves to become more like him.