Scripture Reading for Today: Acts 4:23-31 (read it here)
Here we have the reaction of the Christian Church in the hour of danger.
We remember how not long after the followers of Jesus had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter and John went to the temple one day at the hour of prayer. They met a man lame from birth. Peter healed him and then spoke to the crowd that assembled.
Peter and John were arrested and held overnight. The next day, they were brought before the rulers of the people and were warned not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
Instead, Peter and John gave bold testimony about Jesus; and the one thing that never even occurred to them was to obey the Sanhedrin’s command not to speak or teach anymore in Jesus’ name. For them, silence about Jesus and his resurrection was not an option.
We would have thought that when Peter and John returned to the Christian community and reported all that had gone on before the council, a deep depression would have fallen on them, as they looked ahead to the troubles which were now bound to descend upon them. But the people’s response to their report took the form of a prayer.
The prayer begins with a strong affirmation that God has made everything, that he is the master and absolute ruler, and that all things are totally under his control. He is the one who has spoken through prophets and apostles.
The early Christian community believed that just as Jesus was opposed and suffered, so his followers must expect the same kind of treatment. And so, in their prayer they asked God for boldness. In other words, the community prayed to be able to continue doing what Peter and John had just been doing—something they had just been told not to do.
God is asked to consider the real threats and dangers that this newly formed community of Jesus’ followers are facing. Rather than asking to be protected from these threats and dangers, the community prayed for courage to continue speaking with the same frankness that Jesus showed when he was persecuted.
While they prayed, the place where they gathered shook, and they were again filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the answer to their prayer; and it allowed them to speak the word of God with boldness as they had prayed to be able to do.
Initially the apostles were reluctant to preach Jesus to those who had crucified him. But once they had been converted from doubt and fear, they were willing to face persecution and even death for Jesus’ sake.
The Eucharist nourishes our soul and strengthens us in the difficulties we encounter every day in witnessing for Christ.
Let us also allow the Lord to fill us with holy boldness to live our faith out loud in the world.
Taught by Mary, let us also draw strength and hope from prayer.
Join Me for Live Bible Study Meetings via Zoom
Please follow this link for details.
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
If you found this helpful, please share it. We love meeting new friends.