Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 22:30.23:6-11; John 17:20-26)
Toward the end of the Gospel of Luke Jesus warns his disciples of the hardships to come. He tells them that they will be hauled into prison and put on trial. But he insists that they do not worry as he assures them, “’… I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.’” Paul seems to have known about that promise as he faces the Jews in today’s first reading.
Having lived in Jerusalem, Paul is also aware of its politics. The liberal Pharisees accept the relatively recent teaching of the resurrection of the dead while the conservative Sadducees reject it as foreign to Torah. No doubt the question masked a much greater rivalry between the two groups. In any case Paul exploits the ideological difference. He raises the question of resurrection from the dead to distract both sides from prosecuting him.
We sometimes refrain from talking about our faith because we are afraid of being judged. We don’t want to appear to others as weak. This may stop us from pronouncing a blessing on someone or sharing with another a deep-seated conviction. Such timidity is neither necessary nor helpful. If we believe in God, we should call on Him to bless others (as long as we do not do it condescendingly). Similarly, since we know that God is behind everything good thing we do, we should openly give Him credit for enabling our accomplishment.