“Reading the Acts of the Apostles one sees how the Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church’s mission: it is He who guides the path of the evangelizers, showing them the way to follow.”
With those words, Pope Francis began his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles at his October 30, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. It was an important lesson in his ongoing catecheses on Acts and he gave several examples of the Holy Spirit in action.
The Apostle Paul had arrived in Troas but received a vision. He is implored to Macedonia to proclaim the Gospel. He landed at Tripoli and soon experiences three important events:
1) The evangelization and Baptism of Lydia and her family: “Lydia, in fact, welcomed Christ, received Baptism together with her family and received those that were of Christ, hosting Paul and Silas in her home.”
2) The arrest he suffers together with Silas, after having exorcised a slave girl exploited by her owners: “After the warmth felt in Lydia’s home, Paul and Silas then found themselves having to deal with the harshness of prison: they pass from the consolation of the conversion of Lydia and her family to the desolation of prison, where they were thrown for having liberated, in the name of Jesus, ‘a slave who had a spirit of divination’ and ‘brought her owners much gain’ with the craft of soothsaying (Acts 16:16).”
3) the conversion and Baptism of his jailer and of his family: “Paul and Silas intone a praise to God and this praise releases a power that frees them: during the prayer, an earthquake shook the prison’s foundations, the doors opened and the chains of all fell (Cg. Acts 16:25-26)…the jailer listens to the word of the Lord together with his family, he receives the Apostles, cleanses their wounds — because they had been beaten — and together with his own he received Baptism…”
The Holy Father implored those listening to “ask the Holy Spirit today for an open heart, sensitive to God and hospitable to brothers, as Lydia’s, and an audacious faith, as that of Paul and Silas, and also an openness of heart, as that of the jailer who let himself be touched by the Holy Spirit.”