But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Pharisee Gamaliel, a wise and well-respected member of the Sanhedrin, speaks out forcefully in favor of the arrested followers of Jesus: “If this endeavor comes from God, you will not be able to destroy it.” Gamaliel urges, let us wait and see if this endeavor survives the obstacles it will face.
In a world of instant communication and ready gratification, we need to imbue our faith life with a wait and see approach––not waiting for miracles, persevering instead. Pope Francis reminds us, “God saves us in time, not in the moment.”
I volunteer helping to mentor boy scouts striving to achieve Eagle rank. Achieving Eagle requires a significant commitment over several years, a lifetime in a teenager’s mind. I often inquire of a scout, what obstacles did you face? The scout then describes the barriers and distractions he had to face and overcome on his path to Eagle.
In our faith life, we often face barriers––feeling stuck in a spiritual wasteland, disappointments, doubts. Today we pray for the grace of perseverance, perseverance in our saving walk with the Lord, everyday, until the end.
―George Penman Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found Chicago’s Ignatian Volunteer Corps. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and three grandchildren.
Lord, please help me to “trust in the slow work of God,” as Teilhard de Chardin SJ phrased it. Help me persevere through life’s challenges and temptations, failures and successes. Above all, help me to find God in all my experiences and fall in love with God “in a quite absolute and final way,” as Pedro Arrupe SJ wrote.
―George Penman Sullivan, Jr.