Grace to you and Happy Easter!
The Book ofActs of the Apostleshas many examples of daring Christian witnessing by the early Church. Let me quote 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 being irresponsibly daring?
Isn’t it equally true that inability to stand up for one’s legitimate rights does harm to a person’s core identity?
I am reminded of the constant battle in public spaces and during public discussions when many are hushed to silence for holding a particular religious view. It bothers me, and I suppose it should bother 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 we believe. I pray never to put myself in a situation where I am gagged. 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, unethical compromise, and willful choices for what one knows is evil, simply because it’s convenient. This does harm to the identity of the human person.
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.
Shine the light! Dim it not.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Week of Easter: Acts 5:34-42; Jn 6:1-15]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.