Archive for April, 2016

3rd Sunday of Easter, April 10, 2016

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Since 2013, in a country far away from the United States, members of a religious group have suffered terrible persecution from those who do not share their faith. They have been threatened with death if they do not convert, and if they wish to pray, they must do it quickly and secretly. Most of their houses of worship have been destroyed. Tens of thousands have fled to neighboring countries for safety and the freedom to practice their religion.

No, I am not talking about the suffering of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Muslims, although that is a very real phenomenon in some places and one about which we all should be concerned. I am talking about what is going on in the Central African Republic, where Christians, including our Catholic sisters and brothers, are committing atrocities against Muslims.

In our first reading today, Peter and the apostles boldly declare to the Jewish leaders, “We must obey God rather than men.” I would agree. But I would also say that we must be very careful about assuming that we are obeying God and others are not—especially if we think that obeying God means physically, mentally, or emotionally inflicting pain upon someone else. Note that in defending themselves before the Sanhedrin, Peter and the apostles potentially hurt only themselves.

Peter and the apostles remind us that “God has given [the Holy Spirit] to those who obey him.” Yes, we should obey God but we’d better make sure that our actions are more reflective of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit than of human ignorance; we’d better make sure that our actions are consistent with the teachings of the risen Lord who in his great love once hung upon a tree for the salvation of us all.

see Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41

By: Rev. Gregory Kimm