St. Paul must have been one of the greatest public speakers of all time. Today in our first reading from Acts 17, we see Paul giving one of his great speeches, this time to the Greeks in the Areopagus. More on his message in a moment. In the Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, telling the Apostles, “But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”
Paul had seen an altar inscribed, “To an Unknown God.” Paul seizes the opportunity to tell his Greek listeners about the one true God, who made heaven and earth. He says to them, “so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.” I love the word used in the New American translation of “grope.” I sometimes feel in my life as though I am groping for God. Those times when all seems dark and you know that God is around somewhere, you just can’t seem to find him in the darkness.
Paul tells his listeners that indeed, God is not far from any one of us. It is sometimes very hard for us to remember that God is always near. I think that even during those times where we drift away from God, He remains near to us. It’s just that our backs are turned, or we’re just not looking for Him at all. And when we are seeking Him but just can’t seem to find Him, it is our lack of vision. So often we cannot see through our own woundedness. We can be blinded by our pain. But rest assured that God is always near. Sometimes you just gotta grope for Him.
Father, thank you for always being near to us. Help us to open our eyes to see you more clearly, especially in those times where we are blindly groping for you. Amen.