FRIDAY, EASTER OCTAVE
Acts 4: 1-12; Ps 118: 1-2, 4, 22-27; Jn 21: 1-14
NO ONE CAN ARREST THE GOSPEL
“A caged bird can still sing.” Fr Stan Swamy (Jesuit) had scribbled these words from the prison cell. Despite being in prison for being the voice of the oppressed, his prophetic spirit was undaunted. In the first reading today, we come across caged birds who not only sing but even convict the mighty Sanhedrin for killing innocent Jesus. Though it would infuriate them further, Peter spoke the plain truth about Jesus Christ, his resurrection and the need for repentance for salvation.
In different parts of the world, forces do continue to intimidate the Church or the messengers of Christ and try to silence them. Hence this episode from the Acts of the Apostles has special relevance. Peter is teaching something that is increasingly unwelcome to many in our post-modern, pluralistic, relativistic society – the uniqueness and centrality of Jesus. Peter is not vague or ambiguous here. He categorically states that there is only one way to salvation – through Jesus. We must remember that people may arrest the messengers of the Gospel but cannot arrest the Gospel! “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, as preached in my gospel, for which I am bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” (2 Tim 2:9). Are we afraid to proclaim the truth about Jesus Christ? The Church needs more caged birds that sing!
The crippled man healed instantly by Peter in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene stood before the authorities as a living testimony of the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. His presence made the opponents defenseless. Christians, individually and collectively, guarding themselves against the tendencies of lukewarmness, mediocrity and needless exterior religiosity must zealously continue their acts of kindness to those who are crippled in life. They are a powerful witness of the presence of Jesus in our lives.
Response: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
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