St. Philip Neri
Acts 16: 11-15
We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
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
Lord, we remember with gratitude all soldiers who have given their lives in service to our country. We pray for their families and all who hold them in their hearts.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team