Acts 5: 34-42 “…have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God. ...”
Psalm 27: 1, 4, 13-14 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?...”
John 6: 1-15 “…Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.…”
Saint Peter Chanel – (1803 – 1841). As a young priest he wanted to be a missionary. He joined the Society of Mary (Marists) and was eventually assigned to Western Oceania, and Futuna Island in New Hebrides. He witnessed a few people being baptized, but it was after his martyr death that the whole island became Catholic. He was known for showing great devotion to the sick, and he had great patience.
Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles fits in the story of the early Church history when the Apostles went out to spread the word about Jesus, their Savior. Fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit they became fearless despite being told by the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin to stop using Christ’s name. Today too, we have been re-energized by our Easter celebration, and are asked to go out and spread the Good News. Even the Pharisees who had grown more frustrated and angry with them could not dampen their appetite. Luke describes the many signs and wonders that were being performed by the Apostles as they enthusiastically spread the Gospel message. But, beyond the signs and wonders, I have to admit being more stirred by the words of Gamaliel, a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin who tells his colleagues to “…have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38,39) Fast forward to today, to think we grew from a very small community...
In the Gospel reading in John, Jesus is feeding 5000 with 5 loaves and two fishes. A now familiar story, but put together with today’s enthusiasm expressed by the apostles, and I am reminded that Christ can do all things. The world I live in today seems to be in total disarray. But, what kind of a Christian am I if I don’t take that concern to Jesus and ask him confidently to help work a miracle once again. As for myself, I am renewing my commitment to pray daily for all world leaders. Their task is really impossible to straighten out using mere human efforts and energies; but nothing is impossible for God. Once we take this task to prayer, may we be like St. Peter Chanel and adopt some of his patience while we wait for the Lord to do His work. Happy Easter!
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