Prayer of Easter

Deel Op

In Israel today us the Memorial of the Shoah, in which the massacre of the Jewish people in the Nazi concentration camps is remembered.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 4,13-21

They were astonished at the fearlessness shown by Peter and John, considering that they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. 'What are we going to do with these men?' they asked. 'It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a notable miracle has been worked through them, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us threaten them against ever speaking to anyone in this name again.' So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, 'You must judge whether in God's eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.' The court repeated the threats and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Christ is risen from the dead
and will die no more.
He awaits us in Galilee!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The story of Peter's and John's interrogation before the elders and scribes continues after the healing of the crippled man who had been cured. They are amazed at the "boldness" with which the disciples of Jesus responded to their requests and also by their abilities given that they were "uneducated and ordinary men." Acts notes the strength of the two disciples' words, witnessed also by the man who had been cured. The novelty was evident: those judges find themselves before the results of the Gospel's effectiveness.
There is also amazement and fear over the people's possible reaction if they had condemned them. Those elders seek therefore to scare with threats. But the Gospel had deeply changed the hearts of Peter and John: they had become strong after the descending of the Spirit. "Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard." This is not an arrogant or irritated response. It is simply a witness to the truth of one's experience of life and it is an example of how to communicate the Gospel. Peter and John know well that they cannot stay silent anymore: they are not afraid anymore. Silence would have meant their being foreign to the Gospel. Whoever has the Gospel in their heart cannot help but communicate it, even at the cost of their lives. But they must do it in a respectful and effective way. Christianity is a work of attraction more than convincing.