Another lesson from Acts of the Apostles
After Paul’s powerful conversion, he spent his life in dedicated service to God. He brought the good news to the Gentiles through his missionary journeys, and his writings would become essential parts of the New Testament. With every step, Paul witnessed to all about the love of God and the saving power of Jesus Christ.
When he knew that his travels throughout Asia were coming to an end, he called the people together, proclaiming: “But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me” (Acts 20:22-23).
He had made his decision. Knowing that troubles were imminent, he still chose Jesus, on whom he now based his life.
From the word
“Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
■ What does Paul believe awaits him in Jerusalem? (“imprisonment and hardships”)
■ Who made him aware of this? (the Holy Spirit)
■ Why do you think he travels there anyway? ( he is convicted in his faith and knows with certainty he must give his whole life for the Lord, his Savior)
■ As he is leaving for Jerusalem, Paul reminds the people to help the weak and recalls Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). How did Paul live this out in his life? How can we?
1. Living map, living Scripture. Around the classroom, set up stations for some of the places Paul traveled on his missionary journeys. Print out and tape footprints on the floor to connect the various places and “travel” around with the class. At each station, read a passage from Paul’s letters to the people of that location. Consider making passports with the students and “stamping” them at each new location.
2. Eyes on the Prize. Ask everyone in your class to write a short story about a time when they knew they might suffer personally in some way but chose to do the right thing anyway (standing up for another child, telling the truth, and so on). Create a binder or book of the stories to distribute to all of the students’ families. It will be a wonderful Lenten inspiration.
Paul gave everything, willingly sacrificing his very life to spread the good news so that others would be saved. As Lent is upon us, we are reminded that this is what Jesus did, as
well. Knowing he would die a terrible death did not deter Our Lord from his mission to save the world. He gave his life anyway — for each of us.
Lynn Wehner is a Catholic writer, editor, speaker, and catechist who lives with her
husband and their children in Connecticut.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, March 2019