The first reading for this Third Sunday of Easter comes to us from the Acts of the Apostles. When the high priest accused the disciples of disobeying the Temple orders, Peter and the apostles volley back with stinging words of reproach and testimony. They are not going to stop preaching the message of Jesus. We hear that the Sanhedrin was ready to put them to death for this. But then one among them spoke up. His name is Gamaliel—a wise rabbi. He tells them that what is only founded on human foundations will eventually crumble, but not so with something from God! “If it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy it; you may even find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:39) And so he counsels them to let the disciples go. They are flogged and set free. But even in their beatings, they were filled with joy! Can you imagine? Finally, they have the courage to suffer for the Lord’s sake. They went right back out there, teaching in the name of Jesus! It is clear that mortal attempts to stop the Gospel will not succeed!
This month of May is filled with beautiful Sacramental Life! This Wednesday, some 180 children will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Even as children we learn to seek forgiveness for those times, we have offended God and others in our thoughts, our words or in our actions. It is always a joy to share this sacrament with young people. Then, on May 18th, we will celebrate First Holy Communion in two Masses—one in English and one in Spanish. When we partake of the Eucharist, we become filled with divine love—a love which is meant to be shared with others. Like ourselves, these children will forever remember this most holy event in their lives! And finally, on May 21st, Bishop Dolan will administer the sacrament of Confirmation to our parish youth and adults. In this sacrament, they will be “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Please remember in your prayers all of these brothers and sisters who will be blessed in these Easter sacraments!
In closing, I invite all of us to remember in our prayers all of those who have died in terrible violent attacks especially in Shri Lanka and here in our Diocese at the Jewish Synagogue. Let us pray that our world may rid itself of hatred toward any and all people, period!
Love, Fr. Vince