Peter’s Pretty Bold Talk

Thursday of 2nd Week of Easter

Acts 5: 27-33; John 3: 31-36

Deacon Larry Brockman


Pretty Bold Talk, that’s what Peter’s speech to the Sanhedrin was.  You see, the Apostles had been herded in front of the authorities once before this, and told not to preach about Jesus.  And they magically escaped from them that first time.  So this was the second time the authorities summoned them.  Just think about it for a moment.  The authorities arrested, tried, convicted, and executed Jesus using the most painful and humiliating form of execution they had- the cross.  And in the time just after Jesus was buried the Apostles cowered together behind closed doors afraid that they would suffer the same fate as Jesus.  .

But, emboldened by the Resurrection, Jesus’ followers preached fearlessly in Jesus’ name, even after being arrested once, and despite the authorities command to stop.  They were bold and fearless, that’s how real the Resurrection was to them- a life changing experience; an experience that wiped out all fear of what those who run the world could or might do.

Now, in the Gospel, Jesus tells his Apostles early in his 3 year ministry that whoever listens to him, listens to God himself.  He tells them that most everyone will not listen; but everlasting life will be given to those who do listen.  Jesus showed his Apostles that everlasting life was real when he appeared to them in his Resurrected state. After that, nothing could hold them back. No more cowering in an upper room out of fear. The only thing that mattered was their faith in Jesus and following his commands.

This formula is the pattern that has been set for all of us. That’s what the celebration of Easter is all about, reminding us that the same promise made to the Apostles has been made to us.  We have heard about the Resurrection from the multiple Gospel accounts, eye witnesses who spread the word through countless generations to us.  And now, we are being called to be witnesses to the world, not just to the Resurrection, but to all that Jesus said and did during his ministry.

The other day, someone posted a cartoon on Facebook that made a fascinating point.  The cartoon showed Jesus sending his Apostles out two by two after the Resurrection.  And under it was the caption.  “And if they don’t like what you say, change your story”.  But Jesus was not running for office- Jesus was God’s messenger, and God’s word is absolute- not related to what it takes to be popular, and not related to the times.  Jesus words in our Gospel validate that the truth of God’s message takes precedence over everything else.

Did you know that the Government called some of our bishops in to a meeting when the HHS mandate was being considered  and basically told the bishops it was time to for the Church to get with it and come around to the 21st century.  They were pressuring our bishops to do just what the cynical cartoon I mentioned above said to do.  The bishops politely told the HHS no.

We are called to do the same in our lives, to be witnesses for Christ.  God’s word takes precedence, not what is politically correct; not what is expedient; and not what it takes to just get along.

There are lots of opportunities for us to be witnesses.  We may not be called on the carpet in front of the authorities as the Apostles were, but people challenge our Catholic teachings all the time- teachings on Abortion, on marriage, on the Eucharist,  on belief in God, and on the dignity of all human persons.  They challenge us in our jobs, in our social settings, and in our communities.  And we are called to be witnesses of the truth, just as Jesus was in our Gospel.  We are called to speak up, and not be silent on the inconvenient and unpopular truth of the word of God.

And have no fear, because God does not ration his spirit; He will inspire all of us to do and say the right thing if we vow to be his witnesses to the truth.

That’s pretty bold talk, isn’t it?


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