Day 340: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 19:1-7 Ephesus was a large metropolis of around 200,000 residents. In that same city there were some disciples who had neither received the Sacrament of Baptism nor heard of the Holy Spirit. More than twenty years after his death, John the Baptist still had pockets of followers who were not fully incorporated into the Christian Church. They eagerly sought the infusion of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. (CCC 699, 1185, 1285, 1288, 1299-1300)

Ch 19:8-22 Paul worked many cures by invoking the name of Jesus . Some of the Jewish exorcists mistakenly believed that they could wield the same power by invoking the Savior’s name. This attempt was a spectacular failure. The power of Jesus’ name is certainly not a result of a magical incantation but is freely employed through grace and faith in Christ. The exorcists’ disastrous and well-publicized efforts turned the entire city against the practice of magic to avoid any offense against God. Even many of the practitioners themselves repented of the dark arts. (CCC 434-435)

Ch 19:9 The Way: Another popular name for the early Christian community. 

Ch 19:11-12 Even articles of Paul’s clothing seem to have occasioned the casting out of demons and curing of sickness for those with faith. The Church has always venerated the relics of saints, including articles of clothing and items from their earthly possessions, and some have been instruments of healing through faith and God’s grace. (CCC 1673)

Ch 19:13-16 Dark magic, soothsaying, necromancy, and divination constitute forms of idolatry. It is essential that legitimate Christian practices such as the use of sacramentals, devotions, indulgences, religious articles, and ascetical endeavors retain their proper perspective of faith as opposed to the various forms of superstition. (CCC 1674-1679)

Ch 19:23-41 Soothsaying and magical arts were big businesses in the ancient world. Earlier, Paul’s exorcism of a possessed slave girl drew the ire of her owners, who made money from her soothsaying. Moreover, local silversmiths in Ephesus were finding that Paul’s preaching of the Gospel was turning people away from worship of Artemis, the goddess of fertility, whose temple was in Ephesus. As a result, their lucrative business in the manufacture and sale of idols and trinkets had suffered. Only the diplomacy of Alexander quelled the riot and saved Paul’s companions from harm. The Temple of Artemis, one of the traditional Seven Wonders of the World, was destroyed by the Goths AD 262. (CCC 2117, 2138)

Ch 19:35 Sacred stone: Reportedly, a stone resembling the goddess fell from the sky around 800 BC and was enshrined in the temple. (CCC 2112)

Ch 19:39 Assembly: The word ekklesia, meaning an assembly or convention, is translated as “church.” While used in the Septuagint to refer to the Israelites, the Apostles chose this word to designate the Christian community. (CCC 751)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians




Main Themes:

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

2 Corinthians 1:1-2 The introduction designates Paul as an Apostle (in Greek, apostolos, meaning “one who is sent”). Although he was not among the Twelve selected by Christ to accompany him during his ministry, Paul was called an Apostle by virtue of his extraordinary call from Christ, who appeared to him in a vision (cf. Acts 9:1-22). Occasionally, he had to defend his identification and status as an Apostle, and this letter is no exception.

Saints: Every member of the Church-whether as part of the Pilgrim Church on earth (Church Militant), the Holy Souls in Purgatory (Church Suffering), or the blessed in Heaven (Church Triumphant)-is part of the Communion of Saints and, therefore, rightly referred to as a saint. Each of the faithful is called, by virtue of his or her Baptism, to a life of holiness. (CCC 659, 956-958, 956-959, 2013)

Ch 1:2-11 The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick gives us grace to remain faithful to Christ amidst suffering and so we can unite it to the Passion of Christ. In doing so, suffering acquires redemptive value. Because the Church is the Body of Christ, all the faithful are affected by either the holiness or the sinfulness of each individual member. Intercessory prayer-prayer for the intention or benefit of another person-is affirmed as laudable and effective. (CCC 2598, 2634-2636)

Ch 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father…: Praise and adoration are important features of Christian prayer. When we direct our blessing to God, we express our praise and desire to give him glory. As expressed in the Church, we pray to the Father through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2626-2627)

Ch 1:5 Sanctity-faithfully reflecting the life of Christ-is the goal of every Christian. Not only is a Christian called to imitate Christ’s virtues but to bear life’s crosses with faith and love, joining them to Christ’s redemptive Sacrifice. (CCC 618, 2013, 1521, 2029)

Ch 1:8 It is not clear what affliction and fear of death Paul referred to here, but we know from the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s various Epistles that he often found himself opposed by certain authorities and by those who rejected or felt threatened by his preaching. Paul turned these occasions into opportunities to grow in his trust in God rather than in his own abilities. Paul knew well the connection among our concupiscence and earthly unhappiness and the sin of Adam, and he found victory over such afflictions in the Cross of Christ. (CCC 403, 2738-2739, 2742)

Ch 1:12-24 Certain people in Corinth had been criticizing Paul, causing some to doubt him or even to turn against him. He had also disappointed the community there by not visiting as he had promised. Paul defended himself by stating that he had always acted in good conscience; he also related that he stayed away because it would have been an unpleasant visit for the Corinthians-perhaps because of the controversies and the serious moral problems that had arisen. (CCC 74, 828, 1065)

Ch 1:14 Day of the Lord Jesus: This is the Final Judgment at the end of the world, when Christ will return to judge each soul. (CCC 677)

Ch 1:21 Commissioned: The Greek chrisas means, literally, “anointed.” To anoint in this sense is to consecrate and designate someone to a specific purpose or mission. (“Messiah,” or “christ,” means “the anointed one.”) In this case, Paul was stating that his apostolic work in Corinth was a mission given to him by God for which he had received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In its various other contexts, anointing signifies cleansing, strengthening, comforting, and healing. The Church anoints with oil in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. (CCC 695, 698, 735, 1294)

Ch 1:22 Seal: Official documents at that time were often sealed in wax or clay that had the official imprint, or seal, of the particular authority to prove its authenticity. We also speak of a seal, or indelible mark or imprint, on the soul that accompanies certain Sacraments, namely Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. For this reason, these Sacraments can be received only once. 

Guarantee: The Holy Spirit’s action among us is a foretaste of the complete share in the divine life that we will enjoy in Heaven. If we remain faithful to our baptismal promises, we can be hopeful of being raised to eternal life. This is what the liturgy of the Church means in Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) when it asks the Lord to remember those “who have gone before us with the sign of faith...Grant them, O Lord, we pray, and all who sleep in Christ, a place of refreshment, light, and peace.” (CCC 698, 1106-1107, 1121, 1272-1274, 1296)

Ch 1:23 I call God to witness against me: When someone says or implies that he or she wants God to serve as a witness to his or her testimony, it constitutes an oath. An oath is not something to be taken lightly; it must be grounded in truth and justice. To make an oath regarding an untrue statement shows grievous disrespect for the name of God and violates both the Second and Eighth Commandments. (CCC 2150-2155)

Ch 2:1-4 The pain of Paul’s canceled visit to the Church at Corinth would have been mutual. 

With many tears: Paul referred to a previous letter-possibly 1 Corinthians but more likely another, unknown letter-that he wrote out of love for his people, knowing at the same time that his rebuke would sting. Such a correction, done in love by a proper authority or by a brother or sister in Christ, ought to be received with obedience and docility. (CCC 1829, 2216, 2478)

Ch 2:5-11 The person in question here had apparently repented, and so Paul counseled a show of forgiveness and love by the community. 

Overwhelmed: Too heavy a punishment can make a person so ashamed or discouraged that he or she loses faith and hope. Repentance must always be the goal of every such action. (CCC 2266, 2842-2845)

Ch 2:11 The design of Satan is to separate us from Christ. (CCC 409, 414)

Ch 2:12-17 Paul rejoiced in the number of converts that had been won for Christ through the preaching of the Gospel. His detractors taught a false gospel in order to tear down what he had begun. Paul, however, consistently insisted that the Gospel he taught came from Christ. (CCC 799, 2045)

Ch 2:14-15 Fragrance of...aroma of Christ: The Old Testament sometimes described sacrifices offered to God as having a pleasant odor. It also used such language to illustrate how God’s wisdom spread throughout Israel through the Law (cf. Sir 24:15). Paul used this imagery to emphasize the charity of Christ, which is diffusive and most attractive. (CCC 868, 1294)

Ch 2:17 Peddlers of God’s word: Paul referred to the false apostles in these terms because they preached for financial profit. Paul acquitted himself by pointing out that he and his companions did not accept such assistance but instead earned their living through their hard work. (CCC 2121)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

The Third Missionary Journey 

Ephesus: Spiritual Warfare 

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for this day. Thank you so much for the gift of your Son, and the gift of your Holy Spirit. Oh my gosh! Lord God, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, that gives us the power to cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ That transforms us into your sons and daughters. Help us to always walk in your Spirit. Help us to always walk in your will. Help us to always walk in your grace, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”