Friday within the Octave of Easter
(Acts 4:1-12; John 21:1-14)
Speaking truth to power often puts one in danger. Martin Luther King, Jr., did it continually and died by an assassin’s bullet. Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador also spoke up on behalf of the poor and likewise died a martyr’s death. Both of these contemporary prophets no doubt were inspired by Peter’s speech in today’s first reading.
Peter is being harassed by Jewish authorities for having invoked the name of Jesus. His persecutors want to suppress the cult of Jesus, but Peter cannot but proclaim what he experienced with Jesus’ resurrection. As he says, God raised Jesus from the dead and there is no salvation other than in him. Peter publicly pronounces Jesus’ salvation four other times in the Acts of the Apostles. Although Acts does not tell of his martyrdom, his fate is sealed for so boldly declaring the primary Christian message.
All of us have opportunity to speak truth to power. When we find ourselves confronting an injustice, we should prepare ourselves to speak well. We want to make sure that what we say is true. Sometimes the power we are addressing is not as evil as it appears. Then we must be ready to endure repercussions. However, if we know what we are talking about and say it with prudence, we may convince at least some of the powerful people who oppose us. Finally, we want to pray for assistance. Jesus promises his disciples his continued presence when they speak what he teaches.