4 May 2007. Friday of the 4th Week of Easter
Acts 13, 26-33 History for Paul
The first reading is a part of a full-length report of a sermon by St. Paul. Here we must see the viewpoint of Paul. Paul believed that the consummation of history is Jesus Christ. Paul tells the Jews that their history leads to Jesus. The story of Abraham, Moses and David and the promise of Yahweh to them is fulfilled in Jesus. The idea that history leads to Jesus is quite revolutionary during Paul’s time. The Stoics like Seneca believed that history repeats itself.
A modern view of history is seen in the 2006 British film, History Boys where young students from Cutlers’ Grammar School have the chance to be accepted in Britain’s finest universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Mrs. Lintott (Frances de la Tour) is their history teacher; and Rudge (Russel Tovey) is one of the students. Here’s the dialogue:
Mrs. Lintott: And you, Rudge? How do you define history?
Rudge: Can I speak freely without being hit?
Mrs. Lintott: You have my protection.
Rudge: How do I define history? Well, it’s jut one f***ing thing after another, isn’t it?
For the modern cynic, history is a record of people’s sins, failures, misjudgments, and stupidity. News for example is more often bad news.
Christianity however, believes that history is going somewhere. It has purpose and a goal. It moves towards union with God, which is heaven. History then does not repeat itself. History is not a record of wrongs. History is positively moving towards something.
When we look at our own personal history, do we think that our life is a repetition of things in the past? For example, do we think that our life is just a repetition of our sins (as we discover that our sins in the past is still the same sins as today) or a routine (as we do the same things all over and over again)? Do we say, my life is not going somewhere and feel discouraged and resigned to things? Do we think that our personal history — or world history for that matter — is just one f***ing thing after another?
Or, do we think that our life is meant for someone out there and is now moving to that direction? Do our dreams help us move towards a purpose and a goal? Do we feel that we are headed somewhere and this direction is giving us inspiration to move on, even when we fail?