Readings: Acts 5:34-42, Ps. 27:1,4,13-14, John 6:1-15

“If this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case, you may even be found fighting against God!” (Acts 5:38-39)

For daring to tell them the truth to their faces, the high priest and his council almost lost it with Peter and the apostles. It was at this point that Gamaliel stood up to speak first to calm the assembly and secondly to challenge the apostles. In Gamaliel’s mind, there was no need for the council to kill Peter and the apostles because it would only be a matter of time before the church died a natural death. By citing examples of Thaddeus and Judas the Galilean, Gamaliel compared Jesus to rabble-rousers who had previously claimed to be Messiahs. For Gamaliel and the council members, it would be a miracle if the church survived a few years. Two thousand years later, this miracle is still ongoing. Similarly, when Andrew told Jesus about the lad with five loaves and two fish, he didn’t see how it would be enough to feed the multitude. This brings us to today’s lessons:

1. Never Give Up: If you know what you are doing is of God, do not give up. Although Gamaliel didn’t support the apostles, his words were true. “If this undertaking is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them because, in that case, you would be found fighting against God.” When you are doing God’s work, there would be a lot of ups and downs, moments when you would feel like throwing in the towel. In such moments, the devil would try to make you doubt God’s power; he may even make you believe that what you are doing is not God’s work. Don’t give up. Don’t listen to the devil’s lies. Jesus never promised a smooth ride. He only said that victory is certain. Even after Gamaliel’s speech, the council decided to flog the hell out of the apostles. Imagine grown-up men receiving lashes and blows in public. Even at that, the apostles rejoiced for the opportunity to suffer in God’s name. Don’t let anything dampen your spirit or discourage you when you face setbacks. Jesus would say: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

2. God is With the Church: Gamaliel’s words reveal that the church is not a human establishment. History is full of persons, governments and establishments that have attempted to fight God. There have been attacks from within and outside the church's walls, but how it stands today is nothing short of a miracle. For anyone who still assumes that the church is a mere human establishment, I invite you to reflect on two of Jesus’ statements: “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).

3. Never Despise Your Days of Little Beginning: Every great tree starts with a little seed. When you hold the seed in your hand, it takes faith to see the tree. The council never imagined that this group of uneducated fishermen would amount to anything. Philip said to Jesus: “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” (John 6:7). Now, I can clearly understand why Jesus uttered these words: “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs and puts forth large branches so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32). You don’t need two hundred denarii to start something great. Start with whatever is available, no matter how poor or inadequate it may seem. As Jesus prayed over the bread and fish, pray over the little you have and leave the rest for God.

4. Kindness is the Greatest Miracle: How did five loaves and two fish go around the multitude? How did the small group of apostles manage to spread the Good News across the world? Answer: They broke it and shared it. Those who received the broken fragments broke it and shared it again. They kept breaking the broken pieces of bread until everyone was satisfied, and there were even twelve leftover baskets. Do not think that what you have is not enough. Break a little for someone in need, and you will activate the miracle of kindness. By sharing, your little increases. Anne Frank once said: “No one ever became poor by giving.” Also, don’t feel shy about breaking God’s word with someone. Tell them what God has done for you. This is how the Church has grown and continues to grow today.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, deepen my trust in your Divine Protection. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 2nd week of Eastertide. Bible Study: Acts 5:34-42, Ps. 27:1,4,13-14, John 6:1-15).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu