I don't mean a day off as in "holiday," I mean I was a day off in making my liturgically-guided meditation. There I was, sitting in the back yard in the morning sun, meditating on...tomorrow's readings. So if you are wondering where today's cliffhanger from the Acts of the Apostles will lead, I can tell you.
Tomorrow we will be introduced to the great rabbi Gamaliel. Luke is such a terrific writer: Gamaliel will show up again toward the end of the book of Acts when Paul claims to have studied the Torah "at the feet of Gamaliel." As I have said on other occasions, that is like a Catholic saying they had Thomas Aquinas as a catechism teacher. Gamaliel was a person of such remarkable stature that ancient Jewish writings say "when the Rabban Gamaliel died, the Glory of the Torah ceased." Wow. And even though he was a Pharisee (a person dedicated to keeping Judaism distinct and "separate" from all that was profane), he had contacts in the Gentile world, traveled outside of the Holy Land and even made sure that his school in Jerusalem taught Greek thought. This leads some scholars to doubt that such a man could possibly have been the teacher of Saul of Tarsus. At any rate, it tells us that Saul didn't emulate his eminently wise mentor.
I'll be sharing a few thoughts on this order on Sunday at Holy Name (the parish which shares a campus with Loyola University); if you are in the New Orleans area, come to the parish hall at 9:15 Sunday for an hour on St. Paul!
Meanwhile, the sun is shining and the swing (and a big fat book on Paul) beckons... After all, I'm taking a day off!