Today’s reading from Acts introduces to a successful business woman named Lydia. She was most likely a free Greek merchant, possibly a widow. The dyed purple cloth she bought and sold was much prized. Devotion to St. Lydia is prominent in the eastern Catholic and and Orthodox churches; she is regarded as the first documented convert to Christianity in Europe. Her feast is observed on May 20.

Notice that she “already reverenced God” and that the Lord opened her heart to Paul’s preaching. Paul baptized Lydia as well as the members of her household. Lydia reciprocates by inviting Paul and Silas to stay at her house.

Notice the description of her coming to faith: she reverenced God; she opened her heart to Paul’s preaching; she invites her household to join her in becoming Christians; she welcomes Paul and his companions to her home.

Reflect on that interplay of taking God’s word to heart and offering hospitality to others we meet…even perfect strangers. How fortunate that the Lord sends good people into any of our lives to strengthen faith and engage us in service. As Jesus has done for each of us, so we also do for one another. St. Lydia, pray for us.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team