Thursday, April 15, 2021

Peter and John rejoiced to suffer abuse for the name of Jesus.

"After recalling the apostles [Peter and John], they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." (Acts 5: 40 - 41).

Friday 16th April 2021, in the 2nd Week of Easter.

The first Reading in today's Liturgy from Acts 5: 34 - 42 is probably one of the strongest passages in post Easter catechesis.
Our key Scripture Acts 5: 40 - 41 shows Peter and John passing the test of discipleship with flying colors.  After they were flogged severely with 40 lashes, they rejoiced that "they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name." Jesus taught that the disciple rejoice for suffering persecution for His name and consider himself blessed for doing so. For Peter and John, the teaching of Jesus is no longer theory, they now possess a strong material for testimony. "We did it."

The second Scripture from the first Reading, you may call the Gamaliel Principle. Gamaliel was one of the most important Doctors of Sacred Scripture at this time. He was a teacher of St. Paul. He enunciated a principle, a word of wisdom to guide the Supreme Court of Israel on how to handle Peter and John. Options may be: Torture and kill them? Torture and long prison sentences with heavy labor? Below is the counsel of Gamaliel:

"So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” They were persuaded by him." (Acts 5: 38 - 39).

I have used the Gamaliel Principle for discerning God's will. It has often brought me wisdom and peace. About rejoicing in being made to suffer for the name of Jesus, I am beginning to appreciate this and with the help of the Holy Spirit will get it.

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