The high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:27-29)
It took a lot of courage for Peter and the Apostles to say what they said to the High Priest in the midst of their interrogation. That courage was not something that was available to them immediately after Easter. If you remember, immediately after Easter, and for several weeks after that, the Apostles and disciples were hiding out in caves, in locked rooms, as far removed from society as they could become for fear of losing their own lives. But then something wonderful happened: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s passage in the Acts of the Apostles took place after Pentecost, after the time when the Spirit came down upon the Apostles and gave to each of them gifts. One of the gifts of the Spirit is courage.
We know what the Apostles did before Pentecost. They hid. We know what the Apostles did after Pentecost. They boldly proclaimed the name of Jesus. We know what happened after their bold proclamation of the name of Jesus. Most of them were killed. Yet they went to their deaths with courage as well because they knew what awaited each and every one of them: eternal life with Jesus.
We are far removed from Easter. That means we are also far removed from Pentecost. That gives us the ability to look back and see what it was all about to know what it is all about. Our faith was built upon the proclamation of the Apostles. Our faith is sustained by none other than Jesus Christ Himself. We know that.
That knowledge keeps us going when we feel as if we are going to falter. That knowledge tells us that we, too, must obey God rather than men. God is calling you and me to holiness this day. He is calling us to trust in Him. He is calling us to share the gifts of the Spirit that have been given to us in Baptism and still more fully in Confirmation.
We cannot share those gifts if we live in fear. No. We, like the Apostles, must go into our world and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. If we feel that we do not know what to say, we should not worry. God will put His words into our mouths. But He cannot do so if we fail to open our mouths.
FAITH ACTION: Since we are called to obey God rather than men, reflect upon the commandments of God this day.
- I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.