27 April 2019
The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’
So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.
Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.
After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.
Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation
The Lord said, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.” However, often there is a tendency to tell ourselves we are not good enough, or we need to be better, or worse, we need to be perfect in order to do God’s work. Are we giving enough justice to God in our unwillingness to step forward as his disciples? This is the devil’s doing, to stop God’s work from even beginning by having us think ourselves as too small or unworthy! So don’t let the evil one manipulate us this way!
In today’s account in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and John were considered uneducated laymen, yet the rulers, elders and scribes (learned men themselves) were intimidated by and, dare I say, afraid of the disciples’ fervor and conviction! When we have the fire of Christ in us, and when we are doing God’s will, he enables us!
I would like to share a story of a gentleman that guided my parents in their conversion to Catholicism. Uncle A, an elderly gentleman who spoke only English and Malay in his early years, was instrumental in bringing many non-English speaking elderly people to Christ. He once told me that he will go before our Lord, asking for His graces each time before he ministers to the old and frail. He would then travel about in Singapore riding his motorbike, to speak about our Lord to the old folks either in the hospital or at their home, in a smattering of broken Mandarin and dialect. After more than 40 years in this ministry, Uncle A is now fluent in many different dialects. Not to mention the many souls he has saved for God! He heeded our Lord’s call, and with a sincere heart and fearlessness, God empowered him in His ministry. Whenever I falter or have my moment of doubt, Uncle A is my inspiration. So fear not, God has our back!
In a different way, I am reminded that even in our broken states, we can be powerful instruments for God. The image of our beloved Saint Pope John Paul II in his final days, clinging onto his staff and still ministering to his flock. This image of him alone touches many, and without speaking a word, he bore witness to the world.
(Today’s Oxygen by Lorraine Wong)
Prayer: Jesus, empower us to step forward in proclaiming your word! In whatever ways you deem fit, use us! For we are your instruments on earth, take away the doubt, take away the fears so that the light you have placed in us at our baptism can be seen by all and they will come to know you!
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for blessing us with the many gifts and talents, those we embrace today, and those yet to be fulfilled. We thank you!