Readings for Thursday May 5, 2011

First Reading: Acts 5:27-33
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34
Gospel: John 3:31-36

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. (Acts 5:27-33)

Firemen, policemen, soldiers, people who pray in front of abortion clinics, kids who stand up to bullies; each of these people have one thing in common ... courage. Courage is a virtue that I believe each of us should work on in our lives. To have courage means to have strength when faced with opposition. Our courage is based on the source of our strength, and that source should be God. The apostles today give us a great example of courage. They were faced with opposition from the religious leaders, and yet they spoke and acted boldly ... no matter what the cost. They were not concerned with their own lives or of what sort of earthly consequences they might face; they were only concerned with preaching the name of Jesus and serving God. This is an example of real courage.

To have and display courage does not mean that we have to go out looking for trouble. We can be courageous in our every day lives. We can be courageous by being bold for the Lord. We can stand up for a co-worker, even if it means we might be less popular. We can confront a fellow family member when they are doing wrong. We can proclaim the name of Jesus to any and all people that we might come into contact with. By being courageous in the little things in our life, we will be preparing for more challenging times.

Remember, courage means to have strength when faced with opposition. Let God be your strength in life, and if you do then you will have the courage to face anything.

**The Saints give us a great example of courage. Please check out http://catholic.org/saints/ for a list and information of popular Saints. Here are some of my favorite: Our Blessed Mother Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Paul, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Tarcisius, Saint Augustine and Saint Monica, and Saint Patrick.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Thank you for all that you have blessed us with in our lives. Lord, help us to be courageous for you, help us to stand up to all the injustices of this world. Help us to be fearless for you, and may we always rely on your strength instead of our own. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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