Reality

THURSDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK OF EASTERTIDE – 15/4/2021

1st reading: Acts 5:27-33: We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit.

Resp. Psalm: Ps. 33(34):2,9, 17-20: The poor man called and the Lord heard him

Gospel: John 3:31-36: The Father loves the Son and entrusted everything to him.

REFLECTION

The apostles were doing what they believed they were commissioned to do; the things they have seen and heard.
Unfortunately, this conflicted with what the some of their elders believed and what they practiced. The earlier stage of the current episode finds the apostles in prison because of their witness (Acts 5:12-19). But why? They just wanted everyone to know Jesus loved them, didn’t they? After all, isn’t that the essence of the gospel message? Perhaps the problem is not just what the apostles said or did, but how they did it. they were drawing public attention to the name and person of Jesus Christ who was condemned by their elders and chief priests. After refusing to obey the Jerusalem authorities’ orders to keep quiet, Peter and the apostles find themselves on the defense in a courtroom setting and this is where we find ourselves in today’s first reading.

They remind Peter, “Did we not tell you to keep quiet?” Peter’s statement (“we must obey God rather than any human authority”) stands within a long tradition that appealed to a higher, transcendent authority of Jesus Crucified and His exaltation as the Lord and Judge of all the living and the dead over the authorities of this world. Peter says; The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed, by hanging him on a tree; God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior. It means therefore that the actual death of Jesus is overturned by God’s raising Him from the dead. It means therefore, that Jesus’ death is not the final word, but for Apostles, it is the pathway into new life of repentance and renewal.
In addition, Peter’s statement overturns the meaning of Jesus’ death by relating it to God’s exaltation of Jesus. The cross is the red carpet that leads to the lordship of Risen Jesus and defines his kingdom which has no end. The truth about the resurrection and the power to save us from sin and death has not changed and it is still relevant today. God’s word never changes. What we need to change is our response and disposition to God’s word. We see also in today’s gospel, the humility of John the Baptist.

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He testify to his followers that Jesus is the Son of God and believing in Jesus is to have eternal life and anyone who refuses Jesus, the anger of God stays on him. John gives a strong invitation to respond in this verse (John 3:36), a strong one that would jolt even the most apathetic off the fence. Have you given Jesus first place in your life? Humility is a very important virtue and product of Christianity. John Chrysostom said that “humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue.” That is because humility walks hand in hand with obedience. It is like the bit in a horse’s mouth.  Accepting the bit is an acknowledgement that it is not in control, that it is not first, that the Master will control the reins, and thus the humility of the bit positions the horse for obedience to the Master. A.W. Pink also said that, “The more I am occupied with Christ, the less shall I be occupied with myself.” Water always fills the lowest places first. The lower, the emptier a man lies before God, the faster and the fuller will be the inflow and the overflow of the Presence of God in your life.” Commenting on humility, Andrew Murray mentions that” Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of man. It is the root of every virtue. And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil.”

As we go about our daily task, let us turn to the Lord by entrust everything and our lives into the His hands and asking the holy spirit to direct us. Let us also anchor our faith in the power of the Lord’s resurrection so that we can be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit-Spirit of Truth. May we continue to proclaim that Jesus lives and reigns forevermore. Amen.

Fr. Joseph

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