Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 5:17-26
The Temple police arrest the apostles, but without violence
Then the high priest took action; he and all who were with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), being filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and tell the people the whole message about this life.” When they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching.
When the high priest and those with him arrived, they called together the council and the whole body of the elders of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the temple police went there, they did not find them in the prison; so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering what might be going on. Then someone arrived and announced, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Then the captain went with the temple police and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
Responsorial: Psalm 33: 2-9
R./: The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad. (R./)
Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free. (R./)
Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him
and rescued him from all his distress. (R./)
The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in him. (R./)
Gospel: John 3:16-21
“For God so loved the world” the basic axiom of our faith
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”
A religion of sincerity and truth
When Peter and John were caught in a conflict with the high priest and the entire Sanhedrin they were arrested and put in gaol. We have read how God sent his angels to rescue his apostles from prison. The idea of freedom at a more universal level is echoed in the gospel where it says that God sent his Son “so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
After being freed from prison, Peter and John returned to the temple and spoke their message to an enthusiastic audience. They seem to ignore their recent escape and risked their lives again for the Gospel. When the temple police came to stop them, they showed restraint “for fear of being stoned by the crowd.” The obvious sincerity of the apostles won the warm support and approval of ordinary Jews.
Likewise, in the gospel Jesus emphasises the honesty and sincerity of his message. The intuitive faith of lay people is a vital ingredient for the church. Their upright response, their spontaneous rallying around the defenceless apostles, their ability to call things by their right name, helped the early church in Jerusalem to grow.
But of course there were some who resisted the truth of Christ. The Lord describes such people as preferring darkness to light. The evangelist says that all who live by the truth “come out into the light.”
Everyone who seeks the truth is already being guided by the light of Christ, even if they are not yet aware of it. People of faith, who are open to the light of Christ, will share forever in the eternal light of the living God who made us all.