You may think that baldness is a recent fad. If that is the case, then St. Paul would fit right in! We see in today’s first reading from Acts 18 that, because of a vow he took, he had his head shaved. In the Gospel reading from John 16, Jesus equates the grief that His disciples were about to go through with giving birth. Once the pain of childbirth is over, the pain becomes joy. So it would be for Jesus’ disciples.
At the beginning of today’s first reading, we see that the Lord came to Paul in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid. God on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you.” Jesus was commanding Paul not to be silent. So if Paul had remained silent and stopped talking and teaching about and witnessing to Jesus, he would have been disobedient. In essence, his silence would have been sinful.
Could the same be true with us? Can there be times when our silence can be sinful? Perhaps the Lord has put it upon your heart to speak a word to someone. Maybe to say something that would make you and your hearer uncomfortable. And because of that fear, fear of discomfort, fear of rejection, you remain silent. Or perhaps you have been called to speak truth to someone, or to speak out about an injustice, but rather than lay it all out, you dance around or water down the truth. I suppose this could be a form of silence, too. Is that sinful? I won’t deign to answer that question for you. But for me, disobedience to God really can’t fall into any other category.
Father, forgive us for those times when we should speak out, when we should boldly proclaim the truth, but we remain silent. Give us the grace and strength to follow your will in our lives.