We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires. - Pope Benedict 16
When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
"We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man's blood upon us."
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
"We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him."
When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.
Where in your life are there situations where you must obey God rather than men? Are we nullifying God's Word in favor of man's laws? (see Mk 7:13) Peter and John told the Sanhedrin: "Better for us to obey God than men!" (Acts 5:29) This meant: "Better for us to teach about Jesus' name than be intimidated by your threats" (see Acts 5:28).
Does our current society, which is overwhelming Christian feel the same way?
Our decision to pursue God’s will for our lives will likely lead to two temporary consequences: criticism and self-doubt. Just as the Apostles in our reading today infuriated the Sanhedrin, so too our standing up for God will probably incite mockery and condescension. The key is to remember how little other peoples’ opinions matter. Our life choices are not an attempt to please them, rather to be pleasing in God’s eyes. Secondly, most of us doubt to some degree that we have the eloquence to talk about our faith. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Have no fear, for the Gospel assures us that God “does not ration his gift of the Spirit” (John 3:34).
In our society, church, businesses, schools, and families, we are being defeated because we have too many people who are silent and afraid. To stand up for life, stop injustices, proclaim the truth, restore families, and bring down the culture of death, we need "chickens" to be changed into "lions."
The secular world gives each of us a set of norms and expectations. It’s what we do with those “instructions” that matters. So many of these ideas are starkly contrary to what Jesus and our Church teach. This presents us with the challenge of deciding, on a daily basis, whose values we will espouse.