Acts 5:1-11 The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they held back part of the proceeds from the sale of their land but rather their deception before God and the Church. They were not required to sell the land, and their choice to do so shows a degree of generosity. However, the hypocrisy of their dishonesty and, perhaps, their desire to make a good impression negated the good they would otherwise have accomplished. Each of them fell dead at the revelation of their misdeed, which clearly reflected God’s displeasure. The virtue that is opposite of this vice is veracity, which is the practice of speaking and acting in accordance with the truth. (CCC 2468, 2471-2474, 2482-2486, 2505)
Ch 5:12-25 Many new converts came to the Church on account of the works of healing performed by the Apostles in the name of Jesus. (CCC 699)
Ch 5:18-20 An angel of the Lord: Angels-spiritual, personal beings God created before human beings-have always been active in the life of the Church as God’s messengers and in assisting his people. (CCC 334, 450, 2242, 2256)
Ch 5:26-33 The obligation to do the will of God must supersede the directives of any human authority. Our choices and actions should never be determined by mandates or laws incompatible with the Law of God. Citizens have not only the right but also an obligation to disobey civil authority that requires transgression of the moral law. Human laws and institutions must always be a reflection of the natural law derived from God’s eternal wisdom. The denial of this objective truth is what leads societies and institutions into oppressive and unjust domination over the human person. (CCC 450, 597, 663, 2242-2244, 2256)
Ch 5:34-39 Gamaliel, who had taught Paul (cf. Acts 22:3), suggested that the Jewish leaders leave the Apostles and Christ’s followers alone. If the Christian way does not come from God, he argued, it will fall apart of its own accord. This calls to mind a saying of Christ: “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up” (Mt 15:13). (CCC 303)
Ch 5:36-37 Theudas: The only Theudas in history recorded outside Scripture that fits this description was killed in an uprising AD 44 or 46. He was held by some to be the Messiah.
Judas the Galilean: This Judas led an armed revolt against the Roman occupation of Jerusalem about AD 6. Some also believed him to be the promised Messiah since he fit their expectations of a military leader. He was a founder of the Zealots, the most radical sect of Jews, who advocated the violent overthrow of the Romans. It was a Zealot-led revolt AD 66 that impelled a merciless Roman crackdown on the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple four years later. Other false claimants to the role of the Messiah both preceded and followed Christ’s lifetime on hearth; Christ himself warned his believers to beware of false teachers and false christs who would try to lead them astray. (CCC 675)
Ch 5:40-42 The maximum number of lashes set by the Mosaic Law was forty (cf. Dt 25:3). To ensure this was not exceeded, the common practice was to limit the number to thirty-nine. Jewish authorities also used an ordinary whip-far less severe and less brutal than the scourging practiced by the Romans. Christ united himself to every person through his Incarnation. One of the many ways we unite ourselves to him is by uniting our sufferings to his redemptive Passion on the Cross. (CCC 432, 1716)
Romans 8:1-13 Paul was not stating that good works are of no value or that we are saved by faith alone (sola fide), as the Protestant reformers would glean from these chapters. Rather, we cannot redeem ourselves by our own power or by simply following the Law. In our fallen state, we are so weakened by passion toward pride and sensual gratification that we are incapable of keeping the Commandments without divine assistance. It is through the gift of faith that we receive the grace and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that helps us overcome our sinful tendencies. Christ is the ultimate and exclusive remedy for our slavery to sin. (CCC 782)
Ch 8:3 Likeness of sinful flesh: Christ took on humanity so as to redeem us through his Death and Resurrection. (CCC 602, 1015)
Ch 8:5-8 Free will, aided with God’s grace, gives us a choice between living according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. It is not enough merely to believe in Christ; we must also choose to follow his path of righteousness. (CCC 1769, 1813-1816)
Ch 8:9 Spirit of God…Spirit of Christ: Alternative names for the Holy Spirit, among several used by Paul in his Epistles. The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as stated in the Nicene Creed. (CCC 693)
Ch 8:10-11 Although our mortal bodies will still die, our souls are immortal. The bodies of the dead will be resurrected and rejoined with their souls on the last day.
From the dead: Christ truly died and was among the dead for three days. The Church teaches that he “descended into hell,” as the Apostles’ Creed states. This is not the Hell of the damned but a resting place, called the bosom of Abraham, where the righteous who died before Christ awaited redemption. Christ opened the gates of Heaven to these souls. (CCC 632, 658, 693-695, 988-990, 1052)
Ch 8:14-30 By taking on our human nature, Christ redeemed humanity, liberating us from sin and making us children of God and heirs of eternal life. This adoption by God is called divine filiation. Through his Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, Christ transformed our human suffering into opportunities for growth in holiness, such that our sacrifices and acts of self-denial identify us with Christ and, thus, have redemptive value. Nevertheless, growth in union with Christ will always involve our wholehearted cooperation. (CCC 1996, 2780, 2782)
Ch 8:14 Following Christ rests on being called by the Father and assisted by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us into the life of Christ through the infusion of sanctifying grace by guiding our growth in virtue-manifested in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which include wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord-and by preparing us to readily accept God’s will and inspiration. (CCC 259, 18311, 1881, 2009, 2543)
Ch 8:15-16 Spirit of sonship: Through Baptism we become children of God.
Abba: This is an Aramaic word for “father.” (CCC 257, 1303, 1972, 2639, 2777)
Ch 8:17 The penance assigned in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation often involves prayer, charitable works, service, self-denial, or bearing our cross patiently. It is through penance that we accept God’s forgiveness and open ourselves to the expiation of our sins in union with the Sacrifice of Christ.
Provided we suffer...glorified with him: By uniting ourselves to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, we participate in Christ’s work of redemption. (CCC 1265, 1460, 1499-1500, 1521, 1831)
Ch 8:18-25 The Holy Spirit gives us fortitude and courage in bearing life’s burdens in hopeful expectancy of everlasting life. Redemptive suffering configures us into the very image of Christ himself. The Beatitudes, which include the promise of everlasting happiness, clearly spell out the need for self-denial and a willingness to accept suffering on account of following Christ. (CCC 280, 1046, 1721)
Ch 8:21 Glorious liberty: Mysteriously, even creation, the universe itself, will be redeemed in the end as God transforms it into a “new heaven and a new earth” (cf. Rev 21:1). It will be released from the “bondage of decay” that is intimately connected to sin. (CCC 400 1042=1047, 1739, 1741)
Ch 8:22-27 It is the Holy Spirit deep within our hearts who moves us to pray.
Groaning with labor pains: The phrase suggests the imagery of labor pains: As a woman endures pain in order to give birth to her beloved child. In like manner, humanity suffers in this life even as it looks for liberation and the fulfillment of everlasting life.
We do not know how to pray: Acknowledging this is the first step in obtaining the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer. It is through prayer that we live in Christ and come to know God’s will for us. (CCC 2630, 2634, 2739)
Ch 8:23 First fruits: When farmers harvest the first of their crops, they obtain a better idea of how the entire harvest season will go. In a similar way, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the beginning of a new life in Christ, gives us a foretaste of eternal life. (CCC 735)
Ch 8:26 The gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit provide strength to act virtuously. The Holy Spirit inspires us and teaches us to pray as we ought, prepares us for Christ, and makes his saving work present among us. (CCC 738-741, 2559, 2564, 2650, 2661)
Ch 8:27 Justified by faith in Christ, we benefit from the intercession of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 2543, 2736, 2766)
Ch 8:28-30 God’s love gives us the hope for both this life and the next. Even with the mystery of evil in this world, we can be assured of God’s ultimate victory. “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind” (St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue on Providence, ch. IV, 138). (CCC 313, 394-395, 1821, 2012)
Ch 8:29 Those whom...predestined: God wants everyone to be saved, but, in his eternal knowledge, he knows who will and will not accept his gift of salvation. Those who accept his love, God predestines for eternal life. No one, however, is predestined for Hell (cf. Rom 9:14-33)
Image of his son: We were created in the image and likeness of God but lost that intimate communion with God through sin. Our hope for redemption will involve conforming ourselves once again to Christ, the Son of God. In Baptism we are configured to Christ, through whom we are united also to the other two Persons of the Trinity. (CCC 257, 501, 1159-1162, 1272, 2790)
Ch 8:31-39 God is on our side. He gave us his only Son, who assumed our humanity, died for us, was raised from the dead, and now intercedes for us before the Father. He freely offers us all the graces we need for conversion and salvation. All we need to do is respond to his love by striving to live the Gospel message. (CCC 603, 663, 667, 2572, 2852)
Ch 8:35-39 Suffering in this life does not sever our relationship with Christ but rather enhances it. Only sin can separate us from God. Even when we are completely faithful, we still share in the suffering of our fallen humanity. However, through the assistance of Jesus Christ, by the power of his Criss, we can overcome any present trial or tribulation. (CCC 272, 1502, 1521)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Peter and the early Christians boldly proclaim Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, right under the noses of the chief priests and leaders who arrested and killed Jesus.
Finally, the high priest, jealous of the crowds gathered around Peter and the apostles, has them arrested.
However, an angel of the Lord releases the apostles and instructs them, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” (Acts 5:20).
The high priest and the Sanhedrin gather for the trial, but the guards return to report that the prison, though locked and secured, is empty.
Much like the empty tomb, the empty prison cell points to God’s divine action.
Gamaliel, one of the most reputable rabbis of the time (and teacher of St. Paul), warns the council not to put the apostles to death, for if their movement is from men it will eventually die out, but if it is from God, nothing will stop it, and the council may find that it is opposing God.
After 2,000 years, the “movement” of these first apostles is still bearing witness to this new “Life” in Christ, showing, according to Gamaliel’s words, that it is “from God.”
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
GOSH YOU GUYS!!
Did Fr. Mike not say Acts Ch5 and Romans Ch 8 was going to be COMPLETELY BONKERS today?
OH MY GOSH!!
Where to even begin?
So we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira
Right before this in Ch 4 we had a guy named Joseph who is also named Barnabas meaning some of the encouragement who had sold the fields which belonged to him (??This is what the transcription from youtube says so I’ll just leave this right here 😉)
He brought the money and laid it at the Apostles’ feet
Here are Ananias and Sapphira who are kinda sorta doing the same thing, but they’re not actually doing the same thing
They are working under the PRETENSE OF GENEROSITY
THAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE!!
One of the things that happens, for us as well obviously…
I mean, even Peter said this, “While you owned the piece of property, wasn’t it yours to do whatever you wanted to do with it? Even after you sold it, you could do whatever you wanted to do with the money. But the problem is, you made a pretense, you made a show of saying that you were giving EVERYTHING when you WEREN’T giving everything.”
THAT is the issue
The issue is not that they gave only X amount of money
The issue is they made a pretense
Remember, how many times did Jesus condemn those who were hypocrites
The term HYPOCRITE in Greek is the term for ACTOR
I’m PRETENDING to be someone that I’m not actually WILLING TO BE
Someone who wants to be SEEN as someone who they are not actually willing to BE
They want to be SEEN as having a virtue that they are not willing to CHOOSE
If that makes any sense
So Ananias and Sapphira they have this pretense and are hypocrites
Because of that, it costs them their lives
At the same time....
Starting with verse 12, the Apostles are healing people like crazy
That’s such a remarkable thing that they laid people out so that Peter’s shadow would pass over them
Remember what Jeff Cavins pointed out that Peter is re-embodying what Jesus had done and later on Paul will be re-embodying what Jesus had done
What is that a sign of?
Not only of the fact that God used these two SUPER APOSTLES in remarkable ways
Also we are called to allow the Lord to work in our lives in a similar way
The next story about how The Apostles are Imprisoned and Brought Before the Council
Here’s another reference to Fr. Mike’s conversation with Jeff Cavins
This will be his last reference to that conversation
One of the things that is striking is that when we are reading this story, we are reading it from the perspective of the story has already been lived and written
For those Apostles, that were brought before the Sadducees and the council, the story had NOT been written
They were FILLED with a high degree of uncertainty
They had no idea how this would play out
Even in the midst of that UNCERTAINTY, they were filled with BOLDNESS
Remember that prayer from yesterday
That prayer for BOLDNESS
For the willingness to stand up and say, “I’m actually not going to go along with whatever you’re asking me to go along with.”
Acts 5:28, “‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’”
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
So often, we are told as Christians to stop speaking and stop living in the name of Jesus Christ
And here are Peter and the other Apostles saying, “We cannot but speak in the name of Jesus.”
Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men.”
THAT IS SO SO CRUCIAL FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US
And you know what happened?
They heard it and they were super happy
“You know what? We’re inspired by you! That’s incredible! We want to be Christians too!”
Acts 5:33, “When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.”
The Apostles give witness to this, “No, we SAW Jesus raised from the dead. We’re going to bear witness to these things. You can tell us not to speak his name, but we must obey God rather than men.”
The result: They wanted to kill them
Gamaliel stands up and points out that there are other people who had followers and died and what happened to those followers?
They fell away
Those FOLLOWERS became FALLAWAYERS
Ok write that down because it’s going to come up again
FOLLOWERS became FALLAWAYERS
Gamaliel said, “If this is of God, you can’t fight it. If it’s of men, they’re going to become fallawayers.”
But if this is of man, it’s going to be over with in a day
If it is of God, you will find yourself battling the Lord Himself and you do not want to be battling the Lord himself
The last thing about Acts Ch 5
Acts 5:40, “So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”
So yeah they didn’t kill them
They only beat them
What was the Apostles’ response?
It wasn’t indignation
If Fr. Mike went before the government and because of his faith in Jesus he was arrested and at some point he was tortured and then let go, he would be indignant
What is the Apostles’ response?
Acts 5:41, “Then they left the presence of the council, REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
REJOICING that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name
Remember what Jesus had said in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Sermon on the Plain
“Blessed are you when they hate you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice in that day, for your reward will be great in Heaven.”
Here are the Apostles doing literally EXACTLY what Jesus told them to do
When you are found REJECTED
When you are found ABANDONED
When you are found ABUSED for the name of Jesus because of your faith in Christ, REJOICE ON THAT DAY
Acts 5:42, “And everyday in the temple and at home they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Incredible as well is Romans Ch 8 Life in the Spirit
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!
Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Because you have the Law
And you have the Law of the Spirit
We have to put to death the things of the flesh
We mentioned this yesterday that when St. Paul is referring to the flesh, he is not referring to our bodies
He is not rejecting the body
We are our bodies
We are a body and soul duality or composite
Either way we are our bodies
We are our souls
So he is not criticizing the fact that we have flesh
When St. Paul says FLESH he is referring to the FALLEN HUMAN NATURE that we are
He is basically saying, “You can live according to your fallen nature and say, ‘Well because I feel this, because I am attracted this way, that’s how I act.’”
A lot of people do that
This feels right therefore that is how I’m going to live
This is what I’m attracted to therefore that is what I’m going to choose
St. Paul is saying, “You’re set free from this. You actually have the ability, not only the ability, you have this freedom to be able to live according to the law of the Spirit. And if the Spirit of God really dwells in you, you no longer of the flesh you are in the Spirit.”
Romans 8:9, “...Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.”
Not only that…
Fr. Mike mentioned in the prayer today and maybe mentioned it before
Jesus has revealed that GOD IS OUR DAD
We often use the term FATHER
But Jesus gave us the term ABBA
ABBA is ultimately the closeness of the word FATHER which would be PAPA or would be DAD
So for anyone who is bothered by that, sorry
We need to have that healed in us
Because yes we have bad histories with our fathers
Or you have great history with your father and it’s a weird thing
Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba (or Dad)! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!
Someday in the next couple of days Fr. Mike will make this big point
The big point is that every human being is not necessarily automatically a CHILD OF GOD
Every human being IS a BELOVED CREATURE OF GOD!!
God himself gave his only begotten Son so that everyone would have life
Every human being on this planet
Every human being who has ever lived
Is a beloved creature of God
We become God’s sons and daughters through ADOPTION
We become God’s sons and daughters through BAPTISM
We Become God’s sons and daughters when we are GIVEN THE HOLY SPIRIT
So that’s what St. Paul is saying
When we receive the Spirit, then we actually get to say, “Abba! Father!”
Before we are given the Holy Spirit, before we are baptized, we are not able to say, “Abba! Father!” because it is BAPTISM that makes us sons and daughters of God
In a certain way, God the Creator is kinda sorta like a father to all the creatures he makes
We are TRULY made sons and daughters of God in the power of the Holy Spirit when we are Baptized
That’s a big thing that will come back up because the letters of the New Testament make that ABUNDANTLY CLEAR
OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!
How incredible is verse 18 and following?
Romans 8:18, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
I wonder if that is true in my life?
Do I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us? 🤔🤔🤔
St. Theresa of Avila said, “Even the worst life will seem like a night spent in a bad motel compared to the glory and the joy and the love of Heaven.”
Which we trust in
We believe that God loves us that deeply
Here’s the last word on the Word…
Romans 8:31-32, “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?”
Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Romans 8:37-39, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
St. Paul is saying there is NO FORCE ON EARTH
There is NO AMOUNT OF EVIL ON THIS EARTH that can take you out of God’s hands
It’s interesting and worth praying about that St. Paul doesn’t mention the one force that CAN take us out of God’s hand
That CAN take us out of relationship with God
That is SIN
All these other forces are EXTERNAL FORCES
No one, no matter how much they hurt you, abuse you, or use you can take you out of the Father’s hands
The only one who CAN take you out of the Father’s hands is YOU...through SIN
So we have to say, “Ok God, I know that there is no external force. There is no power. Not even a demon or an angel who can take me out of your hands. So since I am the only one who can walk away, I’m the only one who can separate myself from you and your love, help me to never never separate myself from you and your love through sinning, through rebelling against you, through saying, ‘I want to do what I want to do. I’ll leave you.’ Help me never to wander way, Lord. That’s a tall order. But if I do wander, Lord, bring me back.”
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE GIFT TODAY!!
Only two chapters but so much to say
SO MUCH GIFT TODAY!!
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. We thank you so much. Thank you for giving us your Word today. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, to dwell in us, to guide us, to put to death the works of the flesh and to give us life in the Spirit. To set us free from slavery and to give us the true freedom as sons and daughters of you. Your own sons and daughters, who can call you Father in the midst of this world. Father in Heaven, we thank you. We praise you. Dad, we praise you and we love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”