If your life was threatened because you were the constant companion of a popular “somebody” who suddenly became a despised “nobody,” what would you do?
If you were afraid of a mob that turned on your friend, beat him bloody, and killed him, where would you go? Where would you hide?
What would you do, then, still hiding and afraid of being attacked, if somebody came running up to you, all excited and wild-eyed, and said “He’s alive!” You know, the guy who you watched get beaten, nearly to death, then hung up on a tree, then you watched him get carried down and buried… that guy…
Would you suddenly say, “Oh, no problem! Everything’s gonna be fine now!”
Would you be confused? Would you have a question or two? Or maybe want a stiff drink? Or just to sleep all day, hoping it would all go away?
Then let’s say your dead friend showed up. He told you not to be afraid.
“Oh, sure! Thanks. Yeah, all’s good now!!”
Would you maybe doubt your senses, too? Would you be more ready for that adult beverage?
Well, gang, that’s probably purty dang close to what happened to the Apostles who followed Jesus around for three years, watched his popularity explode, then witnessed the whole thing implode in a matter of days.
What happened to these guys? Timid, ordinary dudes who rode the coattails of this amazing, inspiring teacher. You know the guy. He attracted crowds wherever He went. But when He got in trouble with the authorities, all the coattail-riders took off in the other direction.
In a matter of days, inspiring teacher guy goes from most popular to most hated. Before you know it, he’s dead! The adoring mob becomes a lynch mob. Coattail-riders are scared to death. Will the mob come after them, too?
Today’s Daily Mass Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5:34-42) recounts how the Jewish authorities, having detained the Apostles, decide to release them from custody.
“But hang on boys, before you go? Here’s a parting gift.”
The authorities flog the Apostles, then send them on their merry way. “Hey, but don’t mention this Jesus guy any more, okay?”
What do the Apostles do?
They can’t shut up! Everywhere they go, in public, even in the temple,
“they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.”
Something happened to these men. Something transformed them from shy, timid, afraid of their own shadow, locked away for fear of retribution…
and fearless to the point of not caring if they were killed themselves.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning today, Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it.