|John and Peter: why are these men running?|
The Sanhedrin, that is, the rulers, the men in power "ordered [the apostles] not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4:18-20).
Listen to the Apostles. What do they say here?
What would we say?
Perhaps we might say something like, "we are willing (if it comes to that) to defend the doctrines we hold even if it becomes risky." We'd rather mind our own business, of course. Maybe dabble a little bit in "the New Evangelization" and some works of mercy. Because we want to, y'know, "practice" our faith. And, of course, keep the commandments. We'll do what we are obligated to do. And also what we think we're supposed to do in order to be "good Catholics," right?
Really, this is my attitude 99% of the time: I'm willing to do whatever is necessary for me to be able to look myself in the mirror and say, "I'm a good Catholic, or... at least pretty good...."
JJ, listen to the Apostles: "It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
This is what it means to be "apostolic." This is a whole level beyond the best of my "99% of the time"! It's not a question of finding a way to fit Jesus into the "larger context" of my life. It's about being drawn into His life, so much so that living means witnessing (speaking, giving, looking at persons and reality in this new way). It would be easier to stop breathing than to stop witnessing.
Wow. How can we become like the Apostles?
In fact, we can't manufacture this attitude within ourselves by our own power. Like the first disciples, we need to see and hear Him.
Christianity, as Benedict XVI taught and as Francis continues to teach, is first and above all "an encounter with a Person who changes us."
Here perhaps we find ourselves saying, "Is such an encounter possible today?"
Many of us don't expect to meet Jesus, really, in the Church today. Yet He is the whole vitality of the Church. Everything comes from Him and leads to Him.
Maybe what we should ask ourselves is another question: "Do we really want to encounter Him, meet Him, see and hear Him, and be changed by Him?"
That's the question. It's also the beginning of a prayer: "Lord, give me this desire... Give me trust...."
Jesus will take care of the rest.