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Apr 12, 2024

Acts 5: 34-42

But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, ‘Fellow-Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared.

After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!’

They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Apr 12, 2024

Prophetic Conviction

In today's first reading, Gamaliel's counsel spares the Twelve from death, yet the Sanhedrin inflicts a severe scourging upon them, aiming to undermine their unwavering commitment to spreading Jesus' name. Remarkably, despite the beatings, the Twelve emerge not as victims, but as resilient pillars of strength, exuding confidence, courage, and hope. They rejoice in being deemed "worthy to suffer dishonor" for Jesus—a poignant testament to their unwavering faith.

As modern-day followers of Jesus Christ, none of us seeks nor should ever endure physical persecution for our beliefs. Yet, what restrains us from proclaiming Jesus' name with such fervor? Our allegiance lies not in human approval but in God's favor alone. With such power from God, just like the Twelve did, we transcend all obstacles, embodying strength, bravery, and the boundless love of the Spirit. Oh, how our Church needs such disciples today – those who fear nothing, and when others ridicule, scorn, and hurl insults at them because of their prophetic conviction in the saving power of Jesus, they can do nothing but…rejoice!

Fr. Phil Cooke, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits currently applied to the Peruvian Province and an Associate Pastor at La Virgin de Nazaret  Parish in Lima, Peru.

Apr 12, 2024


Loving God, in a world that often seems to lack conviction and bravery in proclaiming the powerful love of your son, Jesus, I beg you to give me all that I need to seek only your approval (and not others from this world) so that I may rejoice in being deemed worthy to suffer dishonor for proclaiming Jesus’s name. Amen.

Fr. Phil Cooke, SJ 

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