St. Paul’s Catacombs

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Ecclus. 7:4-14Rev. 8:1-13Luke 10:17-24

The power of the kingdom of heaven is growing in our passage from Luke today.  In the midst of miracles and profound confusion about what is happening, Jesus thanks God “…because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

This took me back to our recent experience in St. Paul’s Catacombs.

The catacombs are literally hidden.  It was disorienting and difficult to navigate.  Watch your head!  But in a powerful way the catacombs also attest to this strange and profound nature of the early Christians, who would gather on Sundays to give God thanks, surrounded (ironically) by dead bodies, or gather for elaborate agape feasts communing with the dead.

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We gathered down there to read about Paul’s witness to the early Christians, hear of the tale of him shipwrecking on Malta and being warmly welcomed by the people there.  In the picture above you see Karen and Diane and others from our bus.  It was a tender moment, of not just reading about Paul, but hearing how our guide for the day had been baptized at that very spot, in the catacombs.  This is where her journey with Christ began!  Talk about being tied to history!

Jesus speaks of the world on its head.  I think of the profundity of baptism, or the catacombs themselves.  Not much of this journey makes complete sense.  And yet we follow.  We engage in sometimes simple rituals.  And we preach Christ crucified.

We follow because we believe Jesus is the missing link to understanding.  And he is demanding of us an emptying of self, and taking on him as the missing link of our lives.

Through him the miracles flow and power abounds.  Through him all glory and honor become focused and understandable.

As the kingdom of heaven continues to spread through time and space, it came all the way from places like these dark catacombs to my doorstep, and all the way into my heart.  I have become a recipient of this grace, and now I can become a part of those sent out in our passage to share the good news!  And all that begins now!  This morning!

-Matt

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