Saturday, June 7, 2014

The. move to Rome

We use the phrase Roman Catholic without thinking much about it. Today's readings take us back to the moment in the history of Christianity when the focal point shifted. The first followers of Jesus were Jews and the center of the faith was Jerusalem. But as we heard on Thursday, the Lord appearered to Paul and told him,

For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.

And today we reach the point in the story when Paul was transferred to Rome under house arrest,

He remained for two full years in his lodgings.
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance
and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

And it was in these years before he was martyred that he planted the seeds of faith, that would grow into the Church as we know it today. When in Rome you can still visit the church of St. Peter in Chains and see the reliquary

As we hear the story of St. Paul, we are reminded what one person of faith can accomplish. We may not experience physical chains but many feel spiritually or psychologically chained. Today reminds us that the chains, even the house arrest could not stop St. Paul from carrying out his mission. The same Holy Spirit that empowered him, can empower each of us. He was chained but not hindered. We can be as well.