Day 326: Life in the Spirit

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)

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)



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.”