‘We must obey God rather than men’! This is a profound statement of faith coming out of the mouths of Peter and the Apostles. The Roman authorities were infuriated and wanted to put them to death! I wonder if we would have the courage to make such a statement if we were in their position. I hope so! This was a scary and daunting time the apostles found themselves in during these post-resurrection times. Jesus had left them big shoes to fill. They were not only grieving the loss of their friend and leader, but, at the same time trying to stay one step away from enduring the cross as he did.
I have always found the Acts of the Apostles as recorded in the Easter scriptures to be a source of hope for all of us called to follow in their footsteps. We may not live in the same times as they did, but our world of 2022 is filled with just as much danger and challenge. Preaching and living the Gospel message calls each of us to put our faith lives as well as our physical presence on the line as we work for peace and justice so absent in our world today.
The challenge to ‘obey God rather than man’ is ever before us! The Easter message, Jesus has risen and is here with us should be our mantra as we actively spread this Good News! I see this message being lived out as I drive through our neighborhoods shining with many green lights of compassion. I hear this message as I join with members of our parish Sr. Thea Bowman Society for Racial Solidarity to celebrate Eucharist together with our black brothers and sisters in the disadvantaged and ignored parishes struggling in our city. I hear this message as I join my book club as we make ourselves more aware of the injustices our Native American sisters and brothers suffered past and present in their struggle to enjoy the respect and dignity that all God’s children have a right to enjoy!
My prayer for all as we celebrate this Easter season is that we continue to be people of hope and promise as we spread the message Jesus Christ is Risen!
Theresa Secord retired as a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.