Throughout this week we have heard stories of encounter between Jesus and his disciples. The various texts have told us that the disciples were fearful, overjoyed, amazed, troubled, horrified, dejected, and incredulous with joy, and doubtful. However, In the Scriptures we read today we might say that the shoe is on the other foot. Now it is the members of the Sanhedrin who are amazed. The source of their amazement is the boldness Peter and John display in proclaiming the name of Jesus. The Jewish elders don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that these men, whom they consider ordinary and uneducated, are able to hold their own when they are challenged to stop preaching and healing in Jesus’ name.
This passage proves something that I have long known and of which I frequently remind myself; namely, one can possess complete knowledge about the Scriptures, all of the various traditions, the cultural background, and the history, even all of the different commentaries; but if the Scriptures don’t lead to conversion, all of that knowledge is for naught. It is not necessary to be a well-educated person to be a person who has turned his/her life over to Jesus. The Scriptures were not given to us to make us smart. They are intended to make us holy.
Here lies a very important detail. Holiness is found in the ordinary, everyday activities that are part of our lives. We are not called to be extraordinary. We are not called to be intelligent. We are not called to be important in the eyes of the world. We are called to be holy, to be other than. Peter and John were able to do great things not because they were educated but because they believed.
Christ entrusts us with the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. We must embrace this great responsibility and remember it in our day to day lives. Perhaps the Holy Spirit guides you to share a faith-inspired social media post or invite a friend to Mass. Maybe you find a person in need whom you can help. Maybe you are given the opportunity to reveal your own faith in Jesus during an intimate conversation. These gestures do not require extraordinary training or education. They require love that is born of our faith in Jesus.
Let us not forget the Eucharist comes to us as ordinary food – bread and wine. It is the simplicity of these elements that reminds us that we are called to be holy in the ordinary moments of our lives.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator