But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because 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!”
They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The apostles are flogged and then start rejoicing. Who does that?! Who rejoices after being severely beaten?!
Whether looking at it today or the time it was written, this is bizarre. Really, it doesn’t make sense…unless we understand that this joy is not of human origin. This joy is from God — a joy rooted in the Father’s love for us. Gamaliel says this is a joy that no Pharisee, no naysayer can destroy.
That’s no longer that bizarre. In fact, that’s heavenly attractive. How do I obtain that joy? God is still revealing this to me day-by-day, but here’s what I’m discovering makes a difference:
Prayer – conversation, like with any other personal relationship
Patience – giving God the time and space to work in our lives and reveal His will to us
Presence – both in our everyday encounters and with the Lord in front of the Blessed Sacrament
—Jake Derry is the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
For He has looked with favour on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
In every generation.
He has shown the strength of His arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
And has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel
For He has remembered His promise of mercy,
The promise He made to our fathers,
To Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning.
is now, and will be forever
—Canticle of Mary, Luke 1:46-55
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