Season of Joy
Today's Season of Joy reflection on Acts 5:27-33 is by Sr. Rita Sturwold, SND.
Sister Rita is a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international congregation of women religious serving on five continents. She is a lifelong, enthusiastic, innovative, Catholic school educator and administrator. With a keen interest in Catholic education, fundraising and marketing, spirituality and holistic living, Sister Rita is a frequent speaker at local, national, and international conferences.
Trust is Built on Truth
Acts 5:27-33 (excerpt)
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
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.”
To read the full scripture passage, please visit: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/
For many years I did not appreciate the readings from The Acts of the Apostles in the weeks after Easter. However, being a member of a religious congregation, reading about the development of the early Christian community caught my attention. People of different social classes, drawn together by the Holy Spirit, shared their lives, their possessions, and their faith.
Their strong community life, the powerful preaching of the Apostles and the works the Apostles did, drew others to join them. Then I began to appreciate the transformation of Peter, and the other Apostles, that St. Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles.
How did the Apostles—locked in the upper room on Easter Sunday night—overcome their fear of those who condemned Jesus?
Can you imagine Jesus coming to them in the upper room on Easter and saying, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you. Receive the Holy Spirit."
Surely Jesus understood their fear and their human weakness.
Time spent with Jesus in the weeks following his resurrection, reinforced their belief and trust in Jesus, and in his teachings. They also experienced that Jesus had confidence in them to carry on his work.
Pentecost changed the Apostles dramatically. They experienced even greater strength in preaching Jesus' message of love, peace and forgiveness. There was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on thousands of people. The conversion of many people, and the miracles that the Apostles performed, were a great threat to the religious leaders, so they arrested the Apostles several times.
Once again, the religious leaders met in full assembly, wanting to put an end to the Apostles' preaching once and for all. They sent police officers to bring the Apostles from jail to the court. You can imagine how embarrassed the police officers were, when they had to admit that the Apostles had escaped from prison and were preaching in the Temple again.
You can also imagine the consternation in the courtroom. When the Apostles arrived, the high priest scolded them again for not obeying his order to stop preaching.
They replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. We are witnesses and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
The Apostles tried to convince the religious leaders that Jesus was the Savior for whom they were longing. He was the Savior sent by God to invite the people of Israel to repent and to offer them forgiveness of their sins.
Once again, the religious leaders were infuriated and decided to put the Apostles to death. How might this passage from the Acts of the Apostles inspire or challenge us today?
The Apostles are enthusiastic to share the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
How is the Holy Spirit inspiring you during this Easter season to be a person of light and life for others?
The Apostles were committed to tell the truth about Jesus even when facing imprisonment and possible death. Is there a situation right now that challenges you to search for the truth or to speak the truth under difficult circumstances?
How do you prepare to do so? Do you invite the Spirit to inspire and strengthen you?
Trust is built on truth.
How does our society view truth today? How can you contribute to a more truthful society?
Let us pray to the Holy Spirit, that we may continue to be light and life for others.
Let us pray that we may be people of integrity, guided by our faith in God.
Let us also pray to the Holy Spirit to bless our civil and religious leaders with the courage to be people of integrity, unafraid to speak the truth, and to seek justice for all people.
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