“Some began to scoff…” —Acts 17:32, RNAB

St. Paul attempted to spread the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ everywhere, even in the Areopagus of his day. Some scoffed and sneered at Paul and his message (Acts 17:32). Psalm 22 describes prophetically the reaction of the crowd to the crucified Jesus: “All who see Me scoff at Me; they mock Me with parted lips, they wag their heads” (Ps 22:8). It can be discouraging to be scoffed at, particularly by those who do not give you a full and fair hearing, and by those whose name you don’t even know.

Nevertheless, Paul strode bravely into the Areopagus and proclaimed the Gospel. He spread the Word of God far and wide so that at least some people may be saved (1 Cor 9:22). Moreover, a few people in the Areopagus did convert (Acts 17:34). Even scoffers and skeptics can convert. St. Thomas scoffed at the other apostles when they told Him they had seen the risen Lord, but within a week, Thomas proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:24-28).

Modern society is also not without scoffers and skeptics. The new Areopagus, the new marketplace, seems to be social media. Many scoff anonymously through biting comments. There is even a propensity to shame and bully those who post opinions not “politically correct.” The company of scoffers and the insolent (see Ps 1:1) is alive and well in cyberspace.

In two days, we begin the Pentecost Novena. On the day of Pentecost, some in the crowd in Jerusalem initially scoffed at the apostles (Acts 2:12-13). Yet the apostles were not deterred from witnessing, and thousands were led to faith (Acts 2:41). The loving message of the Holy Spirit is the perfect medicine for a company of scoffers in the Areopagus of your life.

PRAYER: Father, give me the Spirit to love the scoffers in my life.
PROMISE: “He will guide you to all truth.” –Jn 16:13
PRAISE: Ann’s teenage daughter writes a pro-Catholic blog.

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