Yesterday our parish hosted our annual Mediterranean Festival.  It was another great year for us.  I would like to thank everyone who worked countless hours to make our event a success.

Speaking of yesterday, I want to highlight an interesting aspect of yesterday’s Epistle reading (according to the Orthodox lectionary).  We read Acts 9:32-42.  This passage speaks of the healing of Aeneas and the raising from the dead of Tabitha by the holy apostle Peter.

Here is what I find most fascinating about the passage: Aeneas is the name of a Trojan hero in Greek mythology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeneas).  He left the city of Troy and helped start Rome.  According to the myth, Aeneas is considered a progenitor of the Romans.  He was no small figure as both Julius Caesar and Augustus traced their lineage to him.  He was also the subject of Virgil’s Aeneid. 

So what makes this interesting in relation to the Bible is that the original readers of Acts almost certainly would have made a connection between the Aeneas of mythology and the Aeneas of Acts 9.  Thus, when the original reader heard, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you” in Acts 9:34, they heard much more than we hear (unless it is explained to us).  They hear, “Aeneas, a founder of the Roman Empire/dynasty, you are healed by Jesus Christ.” 

The healing of Aeneas in Acts is written as an invitation to all Romans–and by extension, all nations (i.e. non-Jews/Gentiles)–to accept the healing provided by the teaching of the Jewish messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Advertisements