SATURDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF EASTER APRIL 18, 2020
Reading 1 Acts 4:13-21
Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.”
So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened.
“Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
One cool afternoon in the spring, my family and I had the opportunity to cross a river that was running calf-deep in places. The current was really moving, but unbeknownst to me the real danger was hypothermia. As we readied for our adventure to cross to the other side of the river, we took our socks and shoes off and tied the shoelaces together for carrying our shoes to keep them dry. Taking one small step at a time ensured us an upright position to cross safely. However, the freezing cold temperature was turning our feet red and totally numb by the time we reached the other side. It just took a minute or two to cross, but it took our feet much longer to feel normal again. It was painful, but we were happy to gain access to the trail on the other side looking for more adventure in God’s creation.
The adventures of Peter and John are leading them on a painful, yet exhilarating path. This dangerous journey was driven by the Holy Spirit to redirect the Jewish faith to cross a river. It revealed a path to follow Jesus for our journey heavenward. Peter had just cured the crippled beggar in Jesus’s name and the faith was spreading like wildfire. What a tricky situation the Sanhedrin were facing. If they denied the works of Peter and John, they would lose credibility with the citizen of Jerusalem. If the Sanhedrin didn’t stop the apostles preaching about Jesus, then the future concerning the Jewish faith was at stake. The powerless Sanhedrin tried to quiet them to keep the status quo in worshiping God, to no avail.
If Peter, John and the rest of the apostles stayed quiet, the heart of our faith would have fallen away and disappeared. Mass would have never been possible. Their sacrifice and boldness built the Church so that we may have a means to share in the divine nature of Jesus.
Just like the lack of circulating blood in my frozen feet crossing that river, God’s hand seems to hold us still, to the point of numbness during this pandemic. And in this painful time, we will persevere to get to the other side of this isolation and return to mass. Our social distancing has given us a thirst for our Lord and time to develop a more spiritual relationship with Him, because "it is right in the sight of God".
Let us pray for our priests to have the humility and boldness of the apostles in proclaiming the Gospel Truth.