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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Apr 18, 2009)
Readings: Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15
"Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges." Acts 4:19
Today's readings give us a pretty clear "before and after" look at the disciples and teach us an important lesson about believing and doing.
Mark's Gospel presents a brief, but significant sequence of events. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, who immediately goes to announce the good news to the disciples. They refuse to believe her. Next He appears to the two men on the road to Emmaus, who immediately return to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the others. Again, the disciples refuse to believe. Then Jesus appears to the Eleven, chides them for their disbelief, and commissions them to "go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature" (16:15).
The message is clear: Believe and proclaim the good news. The reading from Acts shows us how the disciples were able to put their belief in the Lord into action after the Holy Spirit had empowered them to live in the obedience of faith. Peter and John have been arrested and brought before the council of priests and elders, where they are warned not to continue teaching in the name of Jesus. They respond, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges" (4:19).
In many ways, the society we live in warns us not to proclaim our faith, not to share our beliefs about such issues as sexual morality, the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of life, and the preservation of marriage. But the Church teaches that we must not only keep the faith, "but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it" (Catechism, 1816). As Jesus told St. Faustina, "Even the strongest faith is of no avail without works" (Diary of St. Faustina, 742).
Whom will you obey?
Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I may have the courage to bear witness to the truth and proclaim the good news of Your love. Amen. Alleluia!