It happens to everybody at some point. You do someone a good turn, and you get in big trouble for it. Today, we hear Peter defending himself before the guardians of orthodoxy. Poor Peter is accused of healing a crippled beggar in the name of Jesus. (See the whole account in Acts 3-4.) As the story goes, Peter's responses culminate with the question of choosing whether to obey God or men, even -- or especially -- when the men claim the sanction of religious authority.
Obviously, once more as we listen to these Scripture lessons this morning, we become aware and perhaps begin to feel again somewhat of the excitement and the joy that those first disciples felt when Jesus went through death to new life. They found it very difficult to believe this, and I think sometimes we fail to experience the fullness of joy of this Easter feast because we almost take it too much for granted. "Yes, Jesus rose from the dead; let's move on." No. It's so much more important to stop and really try to experience what those first disciples experienced.
Just Catholic: "Why do you stay?" "How can you stay?" I get these questions all the time. So do you.
Soul Seeing: The weeks after we celebrate Easter remind us that the God who suffered and died for us is still present in our suffering.
Essay: No other nation imprisons its people as we do. Yet, going into jail to listen and help is an act of mercy and love.
"We have an advocate with the Father" (1 John 2:1). What is John telling us? That the reign of God is like a courtroom where we're lucky enough to have Jesus as the lawyer who'll get the divine judge to let us off easy? That's a rough description of one widely held understanding of this reading and a general theory of salvation. But is it the only interpretation?
The Peace Pulpit: "We are the presence of Jesus in the midst of the world ... That calls us to change our lives, to follow the way of Jesus."
Young Voices: Mercy, joy and the poor church? Look closer. The trademark pillars of Francis' papacy are fruits borne of a deeper principle.
In the sacred texts for today, we are reacquainted with the earliest believers in Jesus. We are invited to see and appreciate the impact of the risen Jesus on their lives. Because of Jesus, as Luke tells us in Acts, the believers were of one heart and mind. They shared all they had; there was no need to which they did not tend. Graced by God, they bore powerful witness to their risen Lord.
Column: My podcast feed includes a number of spiritual and religious shows NCR readers might want to check out.