Grace to you, and Happy Easter!
Acts of the Apostles has many examples of daring Christian witnessing by the early Church. Here is a portion: "When they [members of the council] had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:40).
The apostles' response was incredibly courageous and fascinating. "They left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (of Jesus). And every day in the temple and at home, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:41-42).
One may say: That’s foolish. The apostles should have stopped when asked by the authorities to do so. They were daring legitimate authorities, and this wasn't right.
Were they irresponsibly daring? Isn't it equally true that the inability to stand up for one's legitimate rights does harm to a person's core identity?
I am reminded of the frequent occurrences in public spheres and during public discussions when many are discredited for holding a particular religious view. Some choose not to express themselves and how they feel because of being hushed to silence. The so-called theory of spiral of silence, in which the mainstream silences alternate voices is well and alive. This silencing mechanism has to be troubling for all people of goodwill. Isn't this a direct attack on freedom of speech, which should be respected for all, no matter their religious or non-religious affiliations? Aren't we living in a civil society where human rights are protected?
Though the apostles lived in a different time, they are examples of how to dare speak what one believes. I pray never to put myself in a situation where I gag myself or contribute to making myself silenced by others due to bad decisions. May I never, due to fear of being silenced, not be who I am. May God not let this happen to you either.
One of the terrible things that can happen to human freedom is for one to be silenced by oneself because of fear. One could also silence oneself due to unethical compromise, and deliberate choices for what one knows is evil, simply because it's convenient. It causes harm to the identity of the human person too.
May we be bold about our identity as believers in the Risen Lord. May our words, gestures, and smiles resound with the echoes of Resurrection testimonials.
May our life as believers always reflect our hope in the Risen Lord. Amen. Resurrection is hope and joy to the world. Believers in the Resurrection bring much hope and joy to society. They're the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Boldness in living this out is a blessing to many.
Be bold. Shine the light! Dim it not.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Week of Easter Friday: Acts 5:34-42; Jn 6:1-15]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.