Scripture Reading for Today: Acts 4:13-21 (read it here)
The Sanhedrin, or the High Council, was the Jewish supreme religious tribunal of 71 members drawn from the elders, priests, and scribes in Judea. As respected leaders, they had the responsibility of responding to any teaching that threatened the purity of Jewish life and worship.
We see Peter and John standing before such High Council in Jerusalem boldly announcing to that imposing group that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Do not forget that the same High Council was also involved in Jesus’ trial and condemnation just a few weeks earlier.
Already thousands among the people have accepted the invitation and joined those counted among the disciples, but the Council remains unmoved.
The Council views the apostles—uneducated and ordinary Galilean fishermen—as people far below themselves in status, preaching something as impossible as Jesus’ resurrection. Yet even the Council marvels at the confidence these companions of Jesus now exhibit before the very body that condemned their Lord and teacher.
But, as always in the Scriptures, amazement is a far cry from belief. The Council sees the man crippled from birth standing there beside Peter and John, and it is amazed. This healing gives clear evidence of the power of the name of Jesus. Yet the Council chooses to close their eyes to the truth.
They admit they cannot deny the remarkable sign accomplished in the name of Jesus. But their response is to seek some way to curtail the influence of the good news being proclaimed.
Opposing the apostles and Jesus’ resurrection, the Jewish High Council actually helps fulfill Jesus’ prediction that his Gospel will be preached before synagogues, governors, and kings and reach an ever-widening audience.
The authorities’ rejection of Jesus fulfills also the words of Isaiah about the cornerstone rejected by the builders, but now the sole source of salvation.
The Council orders Peter and John to remain silent about the name of Jesus. This, of course, would put them directly at odds with the power of the Holy Spirit. They now serve the court of heaven; and no earthly court, even the High Council in Jerusalem, can divert them from their mission. Peter and John are convinced that they have no choice but to speak out, because such was God’s will.
Thus, their steadfastness and fidelity render the Council powerless in their regard.
Note how Peter, who had only weeks before denied knowing Jesus, has now become a bold spokesman for him. This reversal seems to be the answer to Jesus’ prayer: “Simon, I have prayed that your faith may not fail.”
In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us his Body and Blood to strengthen us on our journey of faith.
Let us allow the Lord to fill our hearts and minds.
In union with Mary, let us also continue Jesus’ mission with hope, courage, and enthusiasm.
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Que la palabra de Cristo habite y se sienta a gusto en ustedes (Col. 3:16)
Let us make this a blessed day.
Keep Jesus in your mind and heart and share him with all you meet.
Fr. Michael Brizio, IMC
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