Paul Held in Custody
Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgement, Felix became frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.’ At the same time he hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him.
After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favour, Felix left Paul in prison.
Paul Appeals to the Emperor
Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul. They appealed to him and requested, as a favour to them against Paul, to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. ‘So’, he said, ‘let those of you who have the authority come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him.’
After he had stayed among them for not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he arrived, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. Paul said in his defence, ‘I have in no way committed an offence against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor.’ But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favour, asked Paul, ‘Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?’ Paul said, ‘I am appealing to the emperor’s tribunal; this is where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor.’ Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, ‘You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go.’
Today's Gospel Reading: Mark 12:35-44