How those Athenians in the first century would have relished the communication explosion we experience today, writes Sr Redempta Twomey in the St Columbans Mission Society magazine.
The ancient Greeks Paul met, who ‘used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new’ (Acts 17:21) would be quite at home in this 21st century when news can be had not only ‘on the hour, every hour’ but almost every minute if one so wishes.
Would they spend their time surfing the net or phoning friends on their mobiles to speculate on the latest headline?
Maybe we are not so very different from those people of ancient Athens. Our appetite for novelty is being constantly stimulated and we embrace the latest information technology with unbounded enthusiasm.
St Paul himself would surely have rejoiced at the opportunities now available for spreading the Word, opportunities for reaching out to peoples of other faiths and cultures.
Yet there is a danger and we see it in what happened to those Athenians.
A cultured people, they were open to hearing new ideas, new stories. So, on hearing Paul speak, they voiced an interest to learn more. They took him to the Aeropagus, where they met in council, to give him the chance to tell them of these new things.
“You bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean” (17:20).
Paul rose to the challenge and spoke to them in their own language, even quoting one of their poets. He had observed, he told them, that they were a very religious people who, among the many statues in their city, even had an altar to an unknown God. He was going to name this God for them. And he began to tell them of Jesus.
FULL STORY Where is the energy of the good news? (St Columbans Mission Society)