The weeks following Easter allow us to revisit the wonderful events related about Jesus during Holy Week. There is so much there that calls out for deeper reflection and contemplation and these weeks provide us with the opportunity to allow the foundation of our faith, the Paschal Mystery, to become even more deeply embedded in our day-to-day lives. This season invites us to let that mystery become real in the contours, the ups and the downs of our lives. What a splendid opportunity this is to grow as persons of faith, hope and love.
During these weeks we read the events of the Acts of the Apostles chronicling the life of the earliest churches as they soak in and act upon the wonders done by Jesus, our savior and brother. Today’s reading from Acts is a vivid reminder that just as Jesus offered himself totally for us in his death and resurrection, so the disciples likewise would be called on to offer themselves for the sake of living and preaching Jesus, the good news. The disciples are led before the Sanhedrin and reminded that they were forbidden to teach in the “name,” of Jesus. They had “filled Jerusalem” with their teaching of the meaning of Jesus (his life, death and resurrection).
What an incredible compliment the Sanhedrin was heaping upon the disciples even though the accusers clearly see it as a cause for condemning Jesus’ friends. The disciples’ justification of their actions is that they are to “obey God rather than men.” Their preaching/teaching is based in the firm foundation of the reality of Jesus’ life for them – that by Jesus’ death and resurrection they were saved and were empowered to proclaim him as their Lord.
Today’s feast of St. Stanislaus celebrates the life of the bishop and martyr who was slain by the King of Poland because the bishop confronted him for his public crimes. The King commanded his troops to kill Stanislaus, but they refused out of respect for their beloved religious leader so the King himself leveled the man of God in his cathedral in Krakow.
Stanislaus, like the disciples before him and like Jesus before them, modeled his life on Jesus giving himself totally to God. Both the disciples being tried in a court of law for their audacity in preaching and teaching Jesus and St. Stanislaus upholding what is just and right in confronting the King, become, like Jesus himself a model for how each of us might live our lives.
The disciples, St. Stanislaus, you and me – a link to Jesus and to his Paschal Mystery celebrated during Holy Week. What a beautiful invitation today to see our lives modeled on Christ. Let it be our prayer, then, that despite all the difficulties and problems we experience we can be moved to live out in our own flesh and bones the very mystery of Christ into whom we are united and conformed through our baptism into Christ.
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