Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:27-33; John 3:31-36)
Since atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, we have to be careful about implementing Peter’s statement in today’s first reading, “We must obey God rather than men.” Today we hear of Muslim “holy wars,” but there was a time when Christian Europe was so tragically engaged. To discern whether a particular impulse is of God or not, we must, as the first Letter of John puts it, “test the spirits.”
Testing the spirits means to compare whether a proposed action conforms to Scripture. Should I take on another ministry, or am I already failing to do justice to the work I have? St. Paul writes in one place that he has “become all things to all people” (I Cor 19:22) and in another, “Be imitators of me” (I Cor 11:1). Yet we see Jesus retreating at times (Mark 7:24). Obviously we sometimes need assistance in our discernment. Fortunately, most of us have wise people nearby whom we can consult. Virtuous people are not reluctant to ask for help.
We Christians have Jesus as our primary model. Unlike Mohammed who was a businessman and a warrior, Jesus was a pacifist teacher. He will not lead us into battle. Some of his sayings are not to be taken literally. (If you have ever looked at pornography, do not pluck on your eye.) Pray to him for assistance. As he says in today’s gospel, he “does not ration the gift of the Spirit” of wisdom.