The Unknown God

Paul’s Mars Hill sermon

Saint Paul’s eloquent address  on Mars Hill in Athens has always been one of my favorite sermons.

Saint Paul had just escaped for his life from Berea because of the controversy he caused with the Jews in that area. The commotion caused by stirring up the crowd was too much for them. Paul was sent by boat to Athens. Paul was supposed to wait for Timothy and Silas to arrive before he started preaching, but he could not stand being surrounded by so many idols., It sickened him.


Saint Paul coined the word” idolatry.” Yes, the word idol is mentioned many times in the Old Testament, but it was Paul who first used the term idolatry. He had to give a name to the offenses of these people whose polytheistic beliefs were leading them astray.

Paul The Pharisee

We must realize that Paul was raised as a Pharisee and the Jews had been taught that there was only one true god. The idea of worshiping false idols was a grave sin for the Jews. Paul’s cultural background would not allow his spirit to be soiled by the Athenians idol worship. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he began his mission to teach the great philosophers a lesson on worshiping false gods. His patience grew thin; he could not wait for Timothy and Silas to take the great stage to pull down these idols.

Paul, as usual, would start his ministry at the Jewish synagogues. From there he would walk the public square, speaking to whoever gave ear to the sound of his preaching. Paul’s message was about Jesus and the Resurrection.

Greek Philosophers

By the time Paul arrived in Athens, the country had been under Roman rule for over 200 years. The Roman’s strong-armed military could never change the culture of Athens, which was known for its rich philosophy. Athens was the center for teaching and learning of philosophy. Wealthy merchants sent their children to Athens to glean from the knowledge of the Greek philosophers. After all, this was the home of Plato and Socrates.  Paul would have no problem in gaining an audience because he, too, was a great philosopher.

Because the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were intrigued by Paul’s words, they invited him to speak at the Areopagus. It was considered a great honor for a foreigner to receive this invitation because only the elite, learned men of Athens were allowed to speak there. Paul’s audience would now be Gentiles. His education and spiritual desires would play a major role in his famous sermon.

The Message 

Paul’s heartfelt sermon was directed to the Athenians’ belief in many gods, including the “unknown god.” As in the times of Paul, we live in a world of idolatry. So many people are looking to their gods to bring them happiness. The world is filled with unknown gods because until we seek and find the One True God, we are restless.

“Lord, You have made us for Yourself. And our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” St. Augustine

Paul  gains the respect of  the Athenians by acknowledging their religious beliefs. He cleverly uses the notion of the unknown god to replace it with Jesus, the known God. The Greeks were offended by the message about the Resurrection. Before Paul  finished  his speech, he had gained the support of Dionysius, a judge of the Court of Areopagus. (Acts 17:22-34)

Who do we reach on a daily basis? My attempt to reach one soul at a time gives me great joy. This Blog has a solid following in China. It is my responsibility before God to tell the truth. China and the US share a common ground; both countries are in desperate need of the One True God. We, the people of this great country, need to be redirected to seek God in all aspects of our lives.


Saint Dionysius

Are You  A Dionysius?

Dionysius, like Paul, was highly educated; he came from parents of great means who sent him to Egypt to finish his education. Paul was sent from Tarsus to Jerusalem to study under the great teacher Gamaliel. As a young man, Dionysius was studying in a town called Heliopolis near the capital of Cairo when on Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death, darkness came over all the land. This experience never left him. No philosophers could give him a solid reason for this great phenomenon, but Paul clearly gave truth to the meaning of the eclipse.

Meeting the Mother of God

When Dionysius learned that the mother of Jesus was alive, he visited her in the Holy Land. He had many discussions with our Blessed Mother and was there when she was assumed into heaven.

Dionysius became the first Bishop of Athens, a mystical writer and was canonized a saint. He is the patron saint of Athens and is venerated as the protector of judges and the judiciary.

My Discipleship

The Lord opened the door for me to attend BIOLA University (Bible Institute of Los Angeles), a private Christian college in La Mirada, California. I was serving God as a Christian during my education at BIOLA. I could never have attended this college as a Catholic because at that time Catholics were not admitted to this college. God knew that I needed insight into what the Protestants believe so that I could reach out to them as a Catholic. I realize this was part of God’s plan for my ministry.

My Prayer 

Dear Lord, I pray for all who are called to be disciples of Christ to step into their roles of leadership. Lord, set the stage for our preaching. Whether at an open forum or workplace, lead us to be the example to win others to You. Use us in these turbulent times to shed truth to those looking for their unknown god. Amen!


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