Greetings on this the Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 5:27-33; PS 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20; Jn 3:31-36
Notes: We have the current age axiom “It depends on your perspective.“
The confrontation of the first reading today in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles makes that quite clear.
- Peter and the Apostles – “We must obey God rather than men.”
- The Sanhedrin, and the high priest – “You want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
In a sense they are right, but the wrong purpose.
The Sanhedrin think the Apostles want to destroy them by bring bloodguilt upon them.
Thus, in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage, innocent blood will not be shed and you will not become guilty of bloodshed (Deut 19:10). For they know their guilt.
For the Apostles, they are thinking more as Moses did:
Then he took the blood and splashed it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words (Ex 24:8).
Absolve, O LORD, your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not let the guilt of shedding innocent blood remain in the midst of your people Israel.” Thus they shall be absolved from the guilt of bloodshed (Deut 21:8).
For the Apostles know the Lord, who wants reconciliation and repentance.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.
When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord;
blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe!
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.
The Church does not ration the gifts given in the Spirit. Rather, She abundantly and overflowingly share them with one and all. The ones who have the perspective of the Lord, benefit most completely. The ones who reject the Lord are in great danger, like a lost sheep in the wilderness. No more bloodguilt but blood of salvation.
Pope John Paul II –
The Cathedral of Mexico City
Friday, 26 January 1979
The Pope expects from you, moreover, loyal acceptance of the Church. To remain attached to incidental aspects of the Church, valid in the past but outdated today, would not be faithful in this sense. Nor would it be faithful to embark, in the name of an unenlightened prophetism, on the adventurous and utopian construction of a so-called Church of the future, disembodied from the present one. We must remain faithful to the Church which, born once and for all from God’s plan, from the Cross, from the open sepulchre of the Risen Christ and from the grace of Pentecost, is born again every day, not from the people or from other rational categories, but from the same sources as those from which it was born originally. It is born today to construct with all the nations a people desirous of growing in faith, hope and brotherly love.
Peace be with you,