“For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction” (1Thes 1:5).

As often as I proclaim the Gospel and preach about what it says, most of the time I simply take for granted the fact that it has “come to me.” Trying to tease a message for today from its words, do I ever consider its history? Not the history of its composition that I studied in theology classes, but rather the living history it witnesses to. It has been passed on for centuries, often with great effort and much sacrifice. And even today many are deprived of its beauty because those with earthly power fear what it may inspire in those they wish to control.

While Jesus does teach “pay unto Caesar,” surely we know that our priority is to first repay to God “what belongs to God.” How often do I read the Gospel aware that “in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction” I might give my life for it, as others have before me?

—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJ, is the Director of Campus Ministry at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL.