Daily Reflections

Easter Saturday   •  Acts 4:13-21

Cardinal Basil Hume famously said: ‘There has to be a moment in our relationship with God when he ceases to be just a Sunday acquaintance and becomes a weekday friend.’ The Cardinal had a knack of getting to the heart of the matter. He realized that a person probably won’t lay down their life for a Sunday acquaintance but for a weekday friend they might! Thank God, most of us won’t be called to lay down our lives for our faith or even be persecuted or suffer too much. The early believers, those intrepid and courageous heroes of our faith, were, however, made of different stuff, as we see today.

It is important to bear in mind that the Church was built through the blood, sweat and tears of unschooled and ordinary men. Peter and John were, we know, simple fishermen from Galilee. For sure, this does not mean that they were stupid or lacking ability or incompetent, but it does mean that there was nothing in their background or life which could have possibly prepared them to stand up in front of the establishment of their day and, let’s be frank, defy and challenge them.

After the Feast of Pentecost they were possessed of an eloquence, clarity, conviction and courage which clearly intimidated their persecutors. The bottom line was that they would not, nor could not, stop preaching or witnessing in Jesus’ name. We are called to do exactly the same. We tend to think that this is the preserve of bishops, priests and deacons but actually all believers are called to preach and proclaim Christ. How true are the words of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and great preacher of the gospel, who said: ‘Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of God on earth.’

The noble vocation of an evangelist which we received at our baptism invites us to preach it, proclaim it and bear witness to it.
‘The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not “What a lovely sermon!” but “I will take action and do something.”’  (St Francis de Sales)

Acts 4:13-21  •  Psalm 117(118):1, 14-21
Mark 16:9-15

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