Preaching with Boldness
March 29 — Saturday in the Octave of Easter
Readings: Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15
"It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:20
Have you ever felt compelled to stand your ground for the truth? In the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the actor Jimmy Stewart plays a newly elected U.S. senator who goes to Washington to serve his country with integrity. He discovers to his horror that the Senate is largely controlled by corrupt politicians who are in the pockets of the special interests. In a memorable scene, he talks nonstop on the Senate floor for days — mounting a filibuster against a bill pushed by the special interests. To his and everyone's surprise, his filibuster works!
In today's reading from Acts, the Jewish authorities order Peter and John not "to teach at all in the name of Jesus." The authorities are particularly disturbed by Peter's bold speech in the temple precincts after the healing of the lame man (Acts 3:11-26). But the apostles reply that they must obey God by continuing to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. Peter and John go so far as saying that it would be impossible "for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard" (v. 20). They are compelled to boldly preach the Gospel.
As with the Jimmy Stewart movie, justice rules the day. Luke tells us that the authorities release Peter and John, "finding no way to punish them on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened" (v. 22).
The Scripture scholar Fr. Jerome Crowe, CP, notes especially the importance of holy boldness in this account. "Boldness is a virtue highly esteemed by Luke," he writes, "an endowment of the Spirit enabling the apostles to withstand external pressure in their proclamation of the word of God."
Risen Savior, give me holy boldness to share the good news of Your Death and Resurrection. Help me always to take a stand for the truth. Alleluia! Amen.
Diary of St. Faustina