The readings for this post can be found by clicking here.
Are you a narrow thinker of faith, or a broad thinker? Today’s first reading presents narrow thinking about God and broad thinking about God. We have seen for the past few days narrow thinking about the apostles. For the members of the Sanhedrin, the apostles can only be seen as troublemakers limiting their power. Maybe they even thought that by continuing to let them speak they risked the cozy relationship with the Romans.
Gamaliel represents broad thinking. He can admit the down sides, but he can imagine other possibilities. What if these apostles are telling the truth? What if they are inspired by God? What if to crush them we must fight against God? His point is not that he believes them necessarily, but he can take a step back to put this in context. There have been others who had followers, but when they were killed their followers gave up.
Perhaps Gamaliel can think broadly because he has seen the powerful actions and has at least thought about them. These men are speaking boldly. Even if one assumes they somehow escaped by human power, they still put themselves right out in the public to speak again. And what if this is of the Holy Spirit?
Sometimes the challenge in our lives is that we can limit the power of God. We may go to Church, we may read the bible, but if there is something that threatens what we believe we do not summon the courage to reflect on it, to ask if this is from God and is something God wants us to do.
Yesterday we reflected on whether or not we are obedient to God. Today we reflect on whether we will take a step back and act on what God tells us. Gamaliel encourages the Sanhedrin to bring the situation they fact to God. Where is God in what they are doing? Where is God in what the apostles are doing? Are they acting in union with God or against him?
What about you? Do you ever ask God what he wants from you? Do you ever share with others the ways in which God acts in your life because that is what God tells all of us to do? I have heard often from people, “I could never do that.” Why not? If you have found a way of life that is so fulfilling you believe your relationship with Jesus is eternal, why wouldn’t you want to share that with others? Why wouldn’t you want others to believe in something that can make their lives eternally fulfilling? And why wouldn’t you want to do something God told us to do, teaching and making disciples.
Remember the apostles have had deep experiences of the Holy Spirit. A relationship and experience with the Holy Spirit is also available to us. That is why it is so important to broaden your prayer life into spending some silence with Jesus.