He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
A regular prayer in my daily routine when praying the 3rd Luminous mystery, the proclamation of the kingdom of heaven is to ask for the ability to recognize the works of the Kingdom of heaven all around me.
Today I saw one at daily mass.
My parish doesn’t have mass on Friday, so for daily mass today I went to the 5:30 mass at my old parish. I was looking forward to mass today because the first reading for today from the Acts of the Apostles is one of my favorite in Scripture.
Let me set the scene: The Apostles have been arrested by order of the high priest who has called together the Sanhedrin (The senate of Israel) and the next day they call for the prisoners to be brought before them. To everyone’s shock the jail is empty even though the doors are locked and the guards in place and then to top it as their being told this they are informed that the prisoners are in the Temple teaching (Unbeknownst to the Sanhedrin an angel of the Lord releases them from prison and tells them to go to out to the Temple and preach). Even worse when they are brought before the Sanhedrin to explain themselves Peter, speaking for them all, is defiant and they want to put them to death for it, until this happens…
But a Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the men to be put outside for a short time, and said to them, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him. After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
Two thousands years later everyone is talking about Amoris Laetitia the latest pronouncement from Peter and to many that would be proof of Gamaliel’s words but a better proof took place just a few minutes after the priest finished his sermon.
As he started to present the gifts to the alter suddenly there was a loud noise, a dragging screech that echoed through the mostly empty church as it moved forward. It was so loud it was hard to hear the priest who was not using a microphone and continued until an elderly man, leaning heavily on his walker sans the tennis balls usually on the back slowly sat himself down in the front row pew.
When you glanced at him. You could see that to stand was a struggle and when the time came for communion the priest made it a point to go to his pew and allow him to receive the Eucharist sitting down before distributing it to the rest of the congregation that came forward.
Now this man was clearly in rough shape and nobody in the church would question his missing even Sunday, let alone daily, Mass. He is the type of person that the televised mass and the Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist who bring the Body of Christ to the faithful at home exist for. Yet when I spoke to him after mass, noting the example he set, he answered quite matter of factly that he wanted to be at Mass and thanked me, before turning back to his Pieta Prayer book returning to his prayers as he kneeled in supplication in praise to God.
Two millennia after Gamaliel warned that if the church was from God it could not be destroyed, there here he was bearing witness that indeed it was so.
For my money that, in my opinion, is The Catholic story of the day.
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