Mass Reading & Meditation for May 6, 2013
Meditation: Acts 16:11-15
6th Week of Easter
Lydia … listened, and the Lord opened her heart. (Acts 16:14)
Praying at the river’s edge in Philippi, Lydia probably didn’t realize that she was also in the path of a second river—a stream of divine grace! One of the worshippers present that Sabbath was the apostle Paul, and the message he shared about Jesus dramatically changed her life.
Lydia’s story is a beautiful example of what conversion looks like. Conversion is a transformation, with two main ingredients: grace from God, and our response to that grace. Lydia certainly received an outpouring of grace that day. First, it appeared in the form of a messenger—Paul. Through Paul, she heard about Jesus, and “the Lord opened her heart” (Acts 16:14). Today, we might say that she was “deeply touched” by the message. Well, this opening of her heart was also the work of grace!
But Lydia didn’t just receive grace; she responded to it. She listened intently to the message, and as she felt her heart being moved, she asked to be baptized. She probably shared her experience with her household as well, because they too were baptized! This is the pattern of conversion: God gives his grace, we respond, and the result is a powerful transformation.
The best part of conversion is that God wants us to continue experiencing it for the rest of our lives, whether we have grown up in the Church or have experienced a dramatic conversion from unbelief to newfound faith. God wants this pattern of grace, response, and transformation to keep happening, because there are always areas in our lives that need a greater shift toward the direction of Jesus.
What’s more, ongoing conversions can happen anytime and anywhere. Often, as in Lydia’s case, the Lord opens our hearts as we are praying or as we are listening to a “messenger” like the Scriptures or the words of a friend. Whenever we sense Jesus calling us to make a change in how we think or act, we can be sure he is offering us grace so that we can to take his words deeper into our hearts and respond.
Lydia stepped into the river of God’s grace on that Sabbath, and she let it bear her deeper and deeper into his love. May we do the same!
“Lord Jesus, open my heart to your words of life.”
Psalm 149:1-6, 9; John 15:26–16:4