What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge.

(pertaining to today’s second reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23) 

Few of us are people of leisure. But we also don’t bear a burden as intense as the one St. Paul hauled around. He was a one-man Daily Gazette for the cities of Asia Minor about marvels that had occurred in far-off Judea only a decade or two earlier. Old news? Information traveled slower across an empire as wide as Rome’s. Plus, this sort of news required personal testimony to make it credible. Not all Christians were originally convinced that the good news of Jesus was intended for a wider audience. It took a person like Paul to start scattering the gospel across the Mediterranean territories very much like the mad sower in a parable Jesus tells.

What’s in it for Paul? Too easily we reply “Salvation” – like a lesson learned. Paul was a brainiac, but trust in Jesus was not an intellectual exercise for him. Rather, it was the relief of release, a personal experience of chains broken and sins forgiven. His intimate encounter with the risen Lord changed him profoundly. He had a mandate to bring that encounter to others. (Alice Camille)


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