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And here I am with the children God has given me, so it's very closely identifying, it's indeed with humanity who comes to share our life, our death, and to raise us up to that life in the resurrection. We have a very profound affection on the whole history of the death and resurrection of Christ. Remember, we read in the Gospel, we're reading in the book, even in these times, the actual human events which took place, this prophet of Nazareth being condemned to death and dying as a criminal on the cross. And then, after the resurrection, the disciples begin to reflect on what it all means. And this letter to the Hebrews is one of these profound reflections on the whole history of Christ. And that's what we inherit, the events took place, and Jews and others saw it in one way,


and Pilate and people in another. And then the disciples, only after the resurrection, began to see the real meaning of it. And we have to discover this real meaning before we celebrate Holy Week, before we recover the complete meaning for us now, today, of that event in the past. So he says, Since thou for the children shan in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him, or as a part of death, that is the devil. And we tend to think that death is just natural, to one point of view it is, but to another point of view it is not. You see, human nature has created body, soul, and spirit. And if the body and the soul remain subject to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit within, they don't suffer death. The being of our Lady was such, she had body and soul, a soul under the curl of spirit, but she simply passed beyond. But this separation of body from soul, and disaster which takes place,


the death is the result of original sin, it's a falling away from God, from the Spirit. We fall from the Spirit, we are united with God, into the body, soul, we are separated from God, and then we become subject to death and disease, and all the rest of the experience. So that's our human condition, that's why they say it was the devil. The devil, diabolos in Greek, is the divider. Symbolos is what puts together, a symbol puts everything together. Diabolos is what divides everything, separates. So the diabolos divides body from soul, and body and soul from spirit, he separates and destroys. So that's how death came into the world. And Jesus took on this fallen human nature, you see, so never all those who feel fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. And unfortunately today, people don't feel it a bondage, they feel death is quite natural, some people just take it for granted, and that's the end.


But it's a complete misunderstanding, you see, really this life is a preparation, a limited form of living which is leading us on to our deeper life, which, as I say, our Lady experienced in Jesus himself, of course, in the resurrection. He shows the real meaning of life. And all human life moves towards resurrection, that is the fullness of human existence. Life in this world is no more than a kind of preparation, a shadow, as the Hebrews often say, of that which is to come. And then he says, surely it is not with angels that he is concerned, but the descendants of Abraham. You see, Jesus might have been a purely spiritual being, he was very wonderful, no doubt, but he wasn't. He was a being who entered into human nature, flesh and blood, suffered and died, you see. He's totally one with this humanity which we share. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, make expiations of the sins of the people.


You see, he becomes totally human so that as a human being he can mediate between man and God. You see, a priest mediates between man and God, he offers gifts and sacrifices to God on behalf of humanity. And Jesus is that mediator between man and God, between man and Christ Jesus. So he is that one who experiences our total human situation and offers it to God. And that's what we all have to do, try to accept our human condition, with its sin, its suffering, its disease and eventual death, and make the offering to God. And every Eucharist really is a way of entering into that offering of the total humanity. Jesus offers the total humanity to God and we and him are able to make the same offering. And that makes an expiation for the sins of the people. Sin is what separates you, divides you from God, from others, from yourself, and grace is what restores you to unity with your others, with God, with yourself.


It's a total reintegration. And that is redemption, and that is the work of Christ. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he's able to help those who are tempted. And here again, you know, many people think how great is God, how he could be tempted. Of course, he's not simply God. You see, God entered totally into a human condition and exposed the temptation. He was tempted. He was tempted in a wilderness to use his miraculous powers in a way which is not really acceptable. He could have shown off his powers from the temple, something like that. And, you see, he was tempted on the cross. People say, why doesn't he come down from the cross? Then we'll believe he's God. And that would have been a temptation for him to demonstrate his power. And again, in the Garden of Gethsemane, you see, he says, let this cup pass away. He wants it. He's totally human.


He experiences temptation, but the power of grace of God is always in him to overcome. So Jesus is a model for us, you see. I'm always afraid of this, talking about Jesus as God, you see. He's out of human condition, and we no longer really realize that he's one of us. He takes total human condition and shouts it out totally. And, of course, because he's one with God, he raises us to union with God. He makes man and God one, brings them together. So this is what we celebrate, all of you, this Holy Week. We celebrate this mystery of death and resurrection, this redemption of humanity. It's a very profound interpretation of the life of Jesus. You must remember, you see, Jesus came as a prophet, first of all, and he spoke of himself as the son of man. And then he goes through death and resurrection,


and then the church begins to reflect on him, who he is. And one of the obvious titles was Messiah. Israel had been accepting this Messiah as king, to establish his kingdom. And in his own time, Jesus had been accepted, Peter said, as the Messiah. So he was son of man, he was Messiah. And then he began to be spoken of as son of God, in a rather general sense. The Psalms said, Thou art my son, which thereby I have forgotten thee. And so, one after another, they see Jesus in the context of the history of Israel, of the prophecies of Israel, and they give him these new titles, as prophet, and as son of man, as son of God, as Lord, Kurios, the Lord. The Master. And then, this letter of the Hebrews, gives this title of the priest.


It's not very common elsewhere, it is present, but if we see Jesus as this high priest, it's interpreting the life of Jesus in the context of the history of Israel. And that is the history of the church, really. The Spirit of Nazareth comes, and he comes into that context of Israel, with it's prophecy, and it's promises, and it's law, and it's temple, and it's worship, and so on. And then, he interprets himself, first of all, and then his disciples interpret him, in that historic context, as it comes through to us. And here, as I say, he interprets, he's in context of this high priesthood, that was established in the time of Moses, Aaron was the high priest, and the temple had this worship, and the main thing is, that once in the year, the high priest used to go to the Holy of Holies, so it's a holy place where the offerings were made, and then there was a veil, and beyond was the Holy of Holies, rather like the inner sanctuary of the temple.


And the priest, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, went into that Holy of Holies. So this writer sees Jesus as this this high priest, who goes through this, into the Holy of Holies, and he explains, it's not of this world, he passes beyond this world, into the presence of God, and so he interprets his whole life in that context. So he says, we have a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, has also passed through our confessions, he goes on developing this, and it becomes clear, you see, that he goes through the veil, there's the veil of the tabernacle, and he takes up the veil of this world, so Jesus goes through the veil of this world, to the heavens, the heavens of the world beyond, you see. So Jesus, in the resurrection, passed through this veil of this world, the mayas, we say in India, you see,


into the heaven which is the reality. So to interpret all these terms, you see, even heaven, there's only a symbol, all these are symbols, and they all have deep meaning, and he goes through the veil of the flesh, of the world, of this maya, to the heaven, to the world of reality, of truth, which is the kingdom of God, another name for it. And so we have this great high priest, so let us hold fast our confession, we're not a high priest, we're unable to sympathize with our weakness, the one who in every step has been tempted, as we are yet without sin. That, as we saw, was one of his main themes, that this great high priest isn't so holy that he doesn't know the sufferings and the temptations of the world. He emphasizes more than almost anyone in the New Testament how Jesus suffers and is tempted, and undergoes trial all the time, and therefore he's able to sympathize with our weaknesses. That is a very important thing, you see, that people, in their weakness,


in their suffering, need to have somebody who understands their suffering. And it's very often it's not easy to find somebody that's not... And that is why Jesus has this universal appeal, because whatever you suffer, you always say that he understands it, that he went through the deepest suffering that a human being can. So that is one aspect of it, that he's suffered like that, and he's been tempted like that. And he emphasizes, and you saw very much the temptation, especially in the Garden of Gethsemane, you see, this feeling, may this cup pass from me. It's a real trial he undergoes, you see, how to face it. And he learns, surrender to God, not my will, but thy will be done. So he goes through this great trial and overcomes by his surrender to the will of God. So let us then draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we receive mercy and find grace. Here again we have, you know, all these symbols of a throne of grace,


you see, we don't have many kings and thrones today, but still the image is still preliminary in some ways. And still more, we don't think of God sitting on a throne any longer, very much. But you see, you always picture God in the images of your own world, your own culture, and then the throne of the king was the supreme sign of authority, and God would be seated on the throne judging the world. It's typical. And we have to translate it, you see, the throne of grace. It's better, I always say, to put it in terms of consciousness, you see, today we don't think so much in physical terms, God seated on high on a throne. We think more in levels of consciousness, that he is at the resurrection, he passes beyond our normal human consciousness, and he passes into the deeper level of consciousness, into the divine consciousness. And the throne of mercy is fed into the divine consciousness. God is always present in every human situation, with this infinite love, this infinite compassion.


And that is this throne of grace, you see, and we approach the throne of grace when we go within. We don't find it outside and there, we find it as we go within, we become aware that deep in the heart of all of us there is this mysterious compassion, this mercy, this love, you see. We have to discover it within. And that I think, you see, is what religion is happening, what is happening in religion today. In the past, it's always had an interior aspect, obviously, but it's also always had an exterior framework. The whole thing of the earth and the sky, heaven above, and God seated on the throne, it was all a picture of the universe which answered people's needs. And that is more or less demolished today, you see. Copernican astronomy began the demolition, and it's gone on ever since. So we no longer have that image, and so we have to find another way. And as I say, in India particularly, but throughout the world today, we think there are levels of consciousness. You see, we have a very physical consciousness,


we have an emotional consciousness, we imagine it, we're rational, and then we have an intellectual, and then a spiritual, and then we go beyond to a cosmic consciousness, and finally to the divine. All these levels of consciousness, and we're all open to them in varying degrees. And so, we have to try to find that way to the supreme consciousness. And Jesus has found the way, and is the way. Through him, we go to these other lower levels of consciousness, beyond the angels, which are all levels of consciousness again, to the throne, that is to the supreme consciousness, the divine itself. He is passed into the divine, and in and through him, we also, that world is open to us, you see, that world of consciousness. And so, we find grace to help in time of need. And as I was saying this morning, you see, that people, as long as we live from the ego consciousness, you see, our ego consciousness is a particular level of consciousness, where we think of everything in terms of ourselves,


and our relations with other people. It's all right, as far as it goes. It's extremely limited, and it brings all sorts of conflict. When we go beyond the ego consciousness, and open to the deeper self, then we become aware of a deeper relationship with others, a deeper relationship to God. And we only get the help in time of need when we're able to go beyond our ego, beyond the limited consciousness, and become aware of the throne of grace, you see, of this presence, of this power, which is in us all, a power of grace, of compassion, which is there all the time, but we're not open to it, unless we make that effort to open our heart to the center of consciousness within. So this is the spiritual journey, you see, in which we're all engaged, we're all finding our way through it. But as I say, we must translate all these symbols, whether they're Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist, whatever, they're all symbols which point to these levels of reality which are levels also of consciousness, and we have to explore these levels,


and open ourselves to the truth, to the reality, you see, which is behind it all. Yes, you know, the Hebrew is comparing Jesus as a high priest, as the high priest of Israel, who ministered in the sanctuary, and entered into the Holy of Holies once a year, and he shows how different is this priesthood of Christ, and it has a universal application, because all priesthood, all ministry in this world, is what he calls a shared ministry, a shadow and a copy of that which is beyond. This is the Platonic idea, and probably this letter was written in Alexandria, where the influence of Plato was always very strong, and it always has this idea of these two worlds. This world is a copy and a shadow of the eternal world, and there's profound truth in that, very much, in the Indian tradition also.


Everything here is relative, it has no final reality, and it all reflects, like a reflection of a transcendent mystery which is always there. So he says, it was fitting we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separate from sinners, exalted above the heavens, and this is the resurrected Christ, you see. It's precisely in the resurrection Christ goes beyond all human limitations, into the presence of God, into the transcendent mystery, the heavens, and then he is the figure of the great high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners. And then he has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily for his own sins, those of people. He did this once for all when he offered up himself. And the idea is it transcends all earthly sacrifices, all these sacrifices in temples, in worship,


wherever it takes place, all these are human expressions of a supreme reality. And the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the sign in this world of that eternal sacrifice which is beyond all human conditioning. And that is, he makes that sacrifice once and for all so that all limited human sacrifice is fulfilled in that one supreme sacrifice. That's the understanding of it. The law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath became later, appoints a son who has been made perfect forever. And I think this idea, you see, it doesn't apply only to Israel and Christianity, it applies to all religion. You see, all religion has to have its priests and its sacrifices, its rituals, its temples, its mosques, and so on. All these are earthly realities which express this divine reality. And in the sacrifice of Christ


he transcends all earthly realities and dying once for all on the cross he goes beyond this world to the eternal and fulfills all sacrifice. So all sacrifice on earth is a shadow and a reflection of that one sacrifice which is total and final. And then it goes on. The point is, we are saying we have such a high priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty on heaven. As I was saying yesterday, these images are very difficult for people today because airplanes go up into the heavens and we explore everything there so the heavens have become secularized like everything else. But of course, as I said, if we think in terms of consciousness, you see, Jesus goes beyond our present space-time consciousness. We all live in a space-time consciousness here ourselves limited in space and in time and the resurrection he goes beyond the whole space-time consciousness into the eternal reality,


the presence of God himself. And that is the sanctuary in the heavens. A minister in the sanctuary in the true tent which is set up not by man but by God. You see, you have this tabernacle, this tent in the wilderness where God was made to dwell. It was the dwelling place of God and then it was taken up into the temple and God came to dwell in the temple. These were symbols of the divine presence. But now Jesus has gone to this sanctuary which is not set up by man but by God. It's the eternal sanctuary. So the earthly sanctuary is a symbol, a sign, a shadow of the eternal sanctuary. Like in Judaism you have the same principle. You see, in the Vedas you had external sacrifice, the Vedic sacrifice, the fast sacrifice which was performed daily by priests and so on. And then the idea grew up that you could make the sacrifice within. The Rishis retired to the forest to meditate. They built the fire within


and then they offered everything in that inner fire. And that became therefore an inner sacrifice and that was seen as transcending all these external sacrifices. So again you see that movement from the external, spatial, temporal world to the inner reality, the truth which is within and beyond. Then he goes on. Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts of sacrifice and he has to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth he would not be a priest at all since no priest would exist. They serve a copy and a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. That's the great theme. And then he illustrates it from the Exodus. For when Moses was about to erect the tent he was instructed by God saying see that you make everything according to the pattern which is shown you on the mountain. Moses went up onto the mountain and the mountain is always a symbol of transcendence, beyond the ordinary world.


And he encounters God on Mount Sinai you see. And there he receives the pattern of the tabernacle. The same in Islam you see. The idea is that the Koran was written on tablets in heaven and was communicated to Muhammad through the archangel Gabriel. Written on tablets in heaven. You see it always has the eternal reality manifesting in this human scripture or human temple or whatever it may be. And it is Christ who has obtained the ministry which is much more excellent the old covenant as the covenant he mediates is better since it is acted on better promises. So that Christ has fulfilled all these earthly sacrifices gone beyond all earthly temples or churches whatever it may be into the eternal sanctuary, the eternal church, the eternal temple whatever you call it you see


which is the transcendent reality. So we have to learn how to see everything in this world as a copy of the eternal. And we ourselves, my body here, your body and all that we are doing here is a reflection as in a mirror of an eternal reality where living in that eternity that we see it always in the temple spatial context. This sacramental vision of the universe is absolutely fundamental in every religion and basic for the Christian understanding that many people have lost it you see they've lost their vision. But we need to recover it that everything here is in space and time. You see it's limited in space and it's passing in time but it reflects that which is infinite in eternal. It's always present here tomorrow and we try to realize that presence. So that's the understanding of peace. And when we celebrate all these mysteries of Holy Week you see tomorrow


we have Maundy Thursday and our supper and Friday before the crucifixion we see them all as symbols you see they're all earthly signs of this transcendent mystery. It is in heaven in the transcendent mystery that God has and he's making himself present under these signs bread and wine crosses and rituals and words and so on all these are symbols and signs by which the divine mystery makes itself present to us. And we have to recognize the signs to realize their value but always to go beyond them. They're always signs pointing to something beyond to enter into that transcendent mystery of the reality to which they belong. The Acts of the Apostles is important because it's perhaps the earliest account we have of the resurrection. Of course, Luke probably wrote the Acts


somewhat late maybe 80 AD or something like that. But it seems quite clear that he was based himself on some very early traditions because the language is very, very early. These sermons of St. Peter they certainly reproduce the earliest preaching of the Gospel. And so we get an insight how this resurrection was originally perceived. First of all, he says Jesus of Nazareth a man attested to you by God. It's very important though we've got so accustomed to saying Jesus is God that it becomes a bit of a shock when Peter under the guidance of the Holy Spirit says Jesus of Nazareth a man attested to you by God. And there are two ways of speaking of Jesus. You can think of him as God becoming man. But he is also it's more realistic more historical a man in whom God reveals himself. He's primarily a man you see. It's very important


because people today say he's God. It means nothing to many people. The way they see him as a man and a unique man in whom God reveals himself to him is something meaningful. So he's a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him. You see, Jesus is always in whom God is revealing himself and communicating himself. This Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and full knowledge of God. You see now they're looking back on the crucifixion and they see now which they couldn't see before that this was part of the plan of God. Remember many times Jesus said the Son of Man must suffer many things and be killed and so on and they couldn't understand what he was saying. But now it had happened and they realized what it was. It was the plan of God. And you're crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men but God raised him up and he loosed the fangs of death. You see the whole of the life of Jesus


is seen as the work of God in him. And so Paul says somewhere in him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. You see the fullness of the Godhead dwells in that man Jesus. That is the proper way of looking at it. I'd rather stress this because I find this language you know of God becoming man for many people it's quite meaningless. It's a mythological language. God up in heaven coming down onto the earth. It's perfectly good in its way. It's a symbolic language but it's a symbolism which is very alien to people today. And I remember some dialogue I had with a group of people in America and one of the questions is he really a man you see or is he some divine being not really human you see. And Jesus is a man. A man like us in everything except sin. And in him dwelt this fullness of the Godhead. We all have some part of the Godhead revealed to us but Jesus is in him the fullness of the strength.


So God raised him up having loosed the fangs of death and then he quotes the psalm and you see they went back over the Old Testament after the resurrection and began to see new meanings in it. And the psalmist said you see you will not leave my um soul in hell in Hades nor let thy holy one see corruption. And this was a hope an expectation in the Old Testament of some kind of resurrection but now they saw it actually fulfilled in Jesus. He had not been abandoned to Hades he had not seen corruption. That body had come forth from the grave. Then he says the patriarch David died and was buried and his tomb was with us but now um from one of his descendants he spoke of the resurrection of Christ that he was not abandoned to Hades nor did his flesh see corruption. So the death the resurrection of Jesus gives him a new light on the Old Testament


and all through the Bible and through the font of the church they're always seeing the Old Testament in the light of the resurrection of Jesus. That's that's our Christian understanding and it brings new light to it it gives it a new meaning it brings out what was hidden before and um then he says being exalted at the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit he's poured out this which you see and hear is said immediately after Pentecost. So with the resurrection comes also the ascension the exaltation at the right hand of God and again as you know we try to interpret that in the sense of a level of consciousness not of sitting at the right hand somewhere up in the sky but of ascending beyond the human consciousness Jesus has his human consciousness so he lives as a human being as a Jew and he experiences as a Jew felt as a Jew and thought as a Jew all his language


is the language of a Jew of his time and so he has this human this Jewish body and this Jewish soul but beyond the body and the soul is always this presence of the Spirit and Jesus that presence of the Spirit was without limit see with us there is a presence of the Spirit but it's limited we participate in some measure in the Spirit but in Jesus it was without measure the fullness of the Spirit was given to him the fullness of the Godhead so that is where he transcends our human limitations and that is why he is able to be free from death to go beyond death and enter into the fullness of divine consciousness you see to sit at the right hand and to share the consciousness of the Father of the Godhead is to be fully one with the Godhead that's why we come to say Jesus is God but it's the result of a long process and it's seen as the end and not as the beginning you see he is a man first of all a man who is taken up into the Godhead and shares


with the life of the God and the Father and the Holy Spirit so that's the way to understand it this reading of the sermon of Saint Peter after Pentecost the earliest expression of the gospel that we know of course it was written later but it was certainly based on early tradition and it shows how the gospel was originally preached and he says that the house of Israel therefore now assuredly God has made him Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified I was saying yesterday that in the biblical view of the New Testament as a whole God always refers to the Father the Father is the source the origin of all and Jesus is always presented primarily as a man he is a man attested to you by God and this man Jesus God has


made Lord and Christ see Jesus as a man receives the Godhead and even in the ultimate sense the Son receives the Godhead from the Father the Father is the source the Son is received from the Father and Jesus the man receives the Godhead becomes God if you like but becomes God by this gift from the Father it's very important this is the Christian revelation the other religions have a sense of the one God Yahweh or Allah and even Shiva or Vishnu but the Christian message is that it's God's self-communication self-revelation in Jesus you see it's quite unique so God made him Lord and Christ and Lord is kurios it's the word for God in the Old Testament Yahweh is called the Lord so Jesus to say Jesus is God he's God from God from


God it's not simply God God is the origin the source of all the Son comes from the Father he is always from the Father and to the Father he is not the Father he is not the source the origin he receives his Lordship and it means the kurios is the Lord means power over all creation over all humanity that's the fundamental meaning of the Lord and Christ of course is the Messiah the Lord and Christ is power over creation and this fulfillment of the revelation to Israel he is that promised the star for whom it was said this is the Lord my Son this day have I forgotten thee he is the Son who reveals the Father and has the power receives the power from the Father and then he goes on to say what the people say what should we do and he's repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of


Jesus Christ the forgiveness of your sins you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and baptism does seem to be fundamental in the Christian gospel we know how Jesus himself was baptized by John and then this rite took hold we don't have any account actually of the apostles being baptized but right from the beginning it was seen that the sign of your accepting the gospel accepting Christ was his baptism which was seen as death and resurrection you went under the water you died you were past yourself and you rose to the new life the life of the resurrection and you received the gift of the Holy Spirit and it's very important to remember you see in the resurrection and the ascension Jesus goes beyond this world and returns in the spirit he's just as intimately or more intimately present now to us than he was on earth he was only present in a human nature which was limited


in time and space but in his resurrection he goes beyond time and space so he's intimately present to every person that is the history of the resurrection and that is the gift of the Holy Spirit is the presence of Christ in us so we be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit the promise to you and your children all the power of everyone from the Lord our God calls to him and already there's a sense of universality you see Israel had always had this sense the Messiah would come and he would not only redeem Israel he would open Israel to the Gentiles you know Isaiah said it's not enough you should be redeem Israel I'll make you a light to the Gentiles so they saw now this Jesus has come as the Messiah and now this gift of the Spirit is offered to all save your um


salvation and that of course is a very common and perhaps perfectly correct view of things there's this generation and when we look out on the world we always have to recognize the fact that there is evil all over the world that this world is part of evil everybody knows evil is at work at every level in human nature all over the world but with the evil is also this mystery of grace present in every situation every part of the world so we're always in this world of dualities of evil and grace good and evil of love and falsehood so it is a call to separate from the evil in ourselves of course primarily and then in the world as a whole and to awaken to the grace in ourselves and in the world wherever human beings are seeking God there God is present


offering himself to them so this is the message of the resurrection call to this new life in Christ and it's a gift from God you see a gift from the Holy Spirit of the truth and perhaps we should pay a special attention to the story of the healing of this lame man at the gate of the temple I think what strikes one most is that Peter and John who before had been so holy in faith even in the time they were with Jesus they couldn't understand what he was saying when he said he had to suffer and


die and rise again they did not understand what he said and when the time came Peter denies him and they all forsake him and flee couldn't have been more miserable and then something happened which totally changed and I think really the evidence for the resurrection is not so much in the stories which are meaningful of course but in this unbelievable change which took place in the disciples how from being this terrified people with no deep understanding or anything they were totally transformed in this overwhelming faith and that is of course the miracle of the gospel the miracle of Christ and our whole faith really rests on the resurrection that changed everything otherwise Jesus would have been a great prophet and taught very beautiful things and so on and people wouldn't have heard him but it's the resurrection


that changed everything and it still remains the face of Christian faith that emerged from the dead and the great sign of it is this extraordinary power and faith and conviction and transformation which took place and of course it's gone on all through history and the witness of the church is precisely that century after century people have been transformed in this way and of course it can happen to us also the same kind of transformation takes place when this faith takes possession faith not as a theory of belief in a doctrine at all but faith in a person and


a transformation through their contact with that person you see it was the contact with Jesus in the resurrection when he spoke to them and had to kneel with them and so on their whole lives were changed by that event and in a sense you see it still remains we don't see it as they did but the reality of the presence remains and it's gone on all through history people have discovered that presence St. Francis of Assisi is of course a very dramatic example but there are millions I would say certainly hundreds of thousands of others who have undergone the same kind of transformation and that's what we want to keep in mind St. Peter says I have no silver and gold but I give you what I have in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth for circumdiction you see that Jesus had gone through death into life he conquered death and therefore he had power over the mainland and so on of course


it challenges us all we all to perform miracles every day and obviously miracles are only one way in which this faith expresses itself and not the most important way there are many miracles today charismatic movement and all through history there have been miracles like Lourdes of course and so many others these miracles take place and they are one witness to that path but there are other ways in which lives are transformed as we know they can be transformed by love people's whole lives can be changed they are bitter and angry and frustrated and fearful and so on and then something comes into their lives and love comes in and their whole being is transformed so it all asks for that grace of transformation what happened to Peter can happen to anybody no one was more degraded in a sense than Peter you see he totally failed in the


hour of trial and yet he has this total conviction now of resurrection so that's really the history of faith and grace we're all open to it in all different ways but nevertheless it does seem


that it's very close to what the original sermon must have been it's got many very primitive traits in it characteristics and it's very much as what the original gospel must have been a speech to the Jews he says God of Abraham of Isaac and of Jacob the God of our fathers glorified his servant Jesus whom you have delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate always takes it back you see the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob the founders of the religion of Israel and then he uses a very interesting phrase his servant Jesus and this refers to the servant of Yahweh and the prophetess of Isaiah and his language was never again used after this Jesus was never called the servant Jesus the son or the other terms only in these very early sermons do we get this use of the term servant so it's almost certain


I think that he's reproducing a very primitive way of speaking they saw Jesus as that servant of Yahweh in the opera Isaiah which of course was portrayed in the prophecy we read on Good Friday the suffering servant who takes upon himself the sins of the world so Jesus is that servant of Yahweh and then he goes on to say you denied the holy and righteous one after the murderer and killed the author of life and God raised him from the dead and these are all phrases from the Old Testament you denied the holy and righteous one and killed the author of life and God raised him from the dead and his name by faith in his name has made this man strong and


the name has power the name always signifies the person and through the name you can make contact with the person even now when you know somebody the first thing you want to do is to know their name and when you know you share with one another in a particular way so that's the understanding of the name of Jesus then he goes on to say what God had foretold that the prophets were fulfilled repent and turn that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord that he may send the Christ to point to you Jesus whom heaven must receive until the time to establish the God of the Lord but at this time the expectation was that Jesus was shortly to return always remember that the earliest understanding Jesus had gone beyond beyond the heaven that he was to return at any time


that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, there must be a gift of the Holy Spirit for the refreshment. And the Christ, the Messiah, appointed to you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke at the mouth of his holy prophets. This Jesus was the Messiah who brought in the messianic age and expected the final fulfillment to take place. And the church always lives in this expectation of the final fulfillment. And as you know, it was put off from the second letter of Peter, it said, people can't say everything is going on just as before. Why, when is this to take place? And Peter says, do not know that a thousand years in his sight are but a day. So we don't reckon in ordinary time sequences, but we always are waiting for that final coming for the establishment of all that is being promised. And then he speaks of the prophet. Jesus was seen as that prophet whom Moses had said,


God will reign up the prophet like to me who was distant to him. And then he says, all the other prophets which Samuel all proclaimed these days, you are the sons of the prophets and the covenant which God gave to our fathers. This is the first message, you see, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has sent this Messiah whom he promised and whom all the prophets have declared. And now he has come and he redeems his people and he's to come again to bring the final state of perfection. And to you and all the families, the earth shall be blessed, you see. So God having raised up his servant, he is let down again, sent him to you first to bless you, turning every one of you to their wickedness. So the message was first of all given to Israel. At first, it was more or less confined to Israel. It was only gradually that they began to see that it could be given also to the Gentiles. So I think it gives us a real insight, you see,


into the growth of the church. And it begins in a very small community of Jews with their Messiah and fulfilling the prophecies and expecting the return of Jesus to fulfill all things. With very little understanding that it was to take hundreds of thousands of years for it to spread throughout the world. But often things begin, you see, in a duplius like that. With limited understanding, a very profound experience and then it actually grows and expands. So that's how the church actually began, was born. I don't recall the very dramatic event now. The Pentecost came, the Holy Spirit descended, the disciples had this new power and then they healed this lame man at the temple.


It was a public event, everybody heard of it. And it comes before all the authorities of the Jews. And they had them arrested. And then brought them before the senator and before all the authorities, you see. The rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together with Enos, the high priest, and Carphas, and John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly family. So Luke presents this as the first time the gospel really encounters all the authorities of Israel, you see. And just as they had condemned Jesus to death, so now they're confronted with this power which is working through the name of Jesus. And they asked him, by what power, by name did you do this? And Peter says, he had known to you all and all the people of Israel by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth


whom you've crucified and God raised from the dead by him this man is standing before you well. So the miracle of this healing is a sign that Jesus who was crucified has been raised from the dead is now manifesting this power. And it's interesting, you see, the gospel comes first of all in power. As we said, our gospel came not in a word but in power. The words support the power, of course, but there's always this power. And so they're confronted with the fact this man has been healed, unique healing, and it's been there done in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is challenging, you see, the whole Jewish establishment. Clearly, St. Luke understood this as a challenge to the whole Jewish establishment of Israel with the gospel with Christ. And then he quotes the psalm, the stone which was rejected by the builders from the head of the corner. And then he says, there is salvation in no one else.


There is no other name under heaven given among men in which they must be saved. This is often quoted as a sign that nobody can be saved if they don't believe in Jesus. But of course, you will see it in the context of Israel and the world in which they're living. And Peter is speaking as a member of a Jew speaking before the Jewish people and claiming that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises, the prophecies to Israel. He is the Messiah whom God has made, Lord and Christ, and who is the judge of the living and the dead. And for them, clearly, there is no other name under heaven, but you can't extrapolate that to the rest of the world. You see, we must remember Israel lived in a small world, world of Palestine, Syria, Egypt, all the Middle East. And outside that, they had no knowledge at all. And all the religions of India were totally unknown


to the early church and to most of the church. They never even heard of Jainism, for instance, or Sikhism, and then, of course, the whole history of Hinduism, Buddhism. All these religions of India belong to another hemisphere, they sometimes say. You see, the Semitic world of Israel, Christianity, and Islam, and that is one religious world with a common base of faith in Abraham, with a common Semitic tradition. Then there's another world altogether of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and so on, and Taoism, Confucianism, the whole world of Asia. And they're two hemispheres, and they didn't meet, really, at all. And so you can't simply take the language of the Semitic world and apply it to this other world. And today, we're trying to see the revelation of Israel and Christ in the context of the world religion,


you see, and how it relates. And you see, if you see it from an Indian point of view, it's completely different. I went to Kapilvanam, the Hindu ashram, on the way to Trichy, I've been there many times, and they have a map of the world there, of world religions. And you see, India, there is Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, and so on. All the religions come from India, but then away in the distance is Palestine and Christianity, Judaism. So from an Indian point of view, all these religions, the center, they're on the periphery. From the Semitic point of view, they are the center, and the Indian religions are on the periphery. And today, we're trying to see them in context. We cannot separate any longer. We must see the Hindus and Buddhists have to learn to see their religion in the context of Israel and Islam and Christianity, and we have to see our religion in the context


of Asian religion. And that's the future of humanity. There is no future in these isolated religions fighting one another and saying, I'm the best, I'm the only one, and so on. You see, it just has no meaning today. So when we come across a text like that, we must put it in its proper context. Within that context, Peter is saying, Jesus is the savior, all must believe in him, but it's in the context of that religion of Israel and the limited horizon where they're living. And we can't say the same thing today in the same sense. There is a sense that Jesus is the savior of the world, it is true, but we can't put it in the sense that nobody could explicitly believe in the name of Jesus. It doesn't make sense at all. And it's probably George's first day today. George, thank you very much for that. To see the apostles confronted


with the Jewish spiritual authorities, it's not a remarkable situation. You see, they say, they saw the boldness of Peter and John, but seeing they were uneducated common men, and they recognized that they were with Jesus. See, they were fishermen, they must have been quite common men. And for the learned and educated Jews in Jerusalem, there must have been something rather contemptible. And then when they say, you see, should we obey, whether it is right to the sight of God, to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge. It's a very difficult, dangerous situation in a sense, you see, because after all, the chief priests and Pharisees and people, were the representatives of God in Israel. They'd all been given authority, came down from Moses and Aaron.


And Jesus himself said, they sit in Moses' seat. If they say do, if they do, do you not. And so they were the established church, as it were. And here were these common, uneducated men defying the established religion. So it's a very dramatic event, and one with very serious consequences. We always tend to think we must always obey the authorities of the church and so on. And yet here at the very beginning, there is a confrontation, they assert that they would obey God rather than the authorities of the church, you see. So I think we need to reflect on this. It's a big problem today. What sort of obedience do we owe to the authorities in the church, the Pope, the bishops, the people? And in the past, it was considered a total obedience. They represent God, Christ, do exactly what they tell you. But today we recognize from knowing from past history that often they're mistaken and their policies may be quite wrong in many respects. And there has to be a critical attitude in the church.


We have to learn how to have a reasonable, critical attitude of authority. It's very bad to give any authority an uncritical support. One of the greatest truths has come through in modern times is the terrible danger of giving too much authority to anybody, they will always misuse it. And they all need to, and that's the whole point of democracy, of course, is that you have the right to criticize your rulers. And the same applies in the church. There is a need for a reasonable criticism. It came out of the Vatican Council and this is a big change which has come over the church. And yet, of course, it has its obvious dangers. If everybody thinks I'm listening to God and not to you, then you get chaos in the church. And so we have to find the golden mean. There is a reasonable criticism which is necessary for the church. There is also unreasonable criticism, which is dangerous. Then there is unreasoning obedience,


which is also very harmful because it simply allows grave abuses to continue without any check, which has often happened in the past. So we ought to learn this reasonable criticism, you see, an attitude of accepting authority and yet recognizing that it always has its human limitations and needs to... In fact, we have a very deep view of teaching authority in the church. There is the Roman Curia, the Pope and the Roman Curia, and they have certain authority. But then there's the wider authority of the Pope and the bishops, the general council, and that's considered the highest authority. But again, the Pope and the bishops need theologians to advise them. And at the Vatican Council, the great adventure, you see, was the great theologians called Ron and Eve Conger and others were giving lectures to the bishops, and it was their theology


which gradually changed the attitude of the council. So the bishops listened to the theologians, but then beyond that, there's always the census pedanium, the people as a whole, done with the presence of the Holy Spirit, have that also their understanding. And one of the outstanding changes in the church and the Vatican Council is the recognition that all Christians, through their baptism, share in the prophetic, priestly, and loyal office of Christ. We all share in the teaching authority of the church. It's not confined to the Pope or to the bishops or to the theologians. Every Christian, through his baptism and the gift of the Spirit, shares in his own measure in this teaching authority. It's not some people teaching, some being taught. The teaching authority belongs to all. And so there is a shared authority, and after all, this teaching itself comes from the Holy Spirit, not from any Pope or bishop or anybody else.


The Holy Spirit is the teacher in the church. So if you see this in its full context like that, if you see how you get a balance, you see, the Pope is balanced with the bishops, and the bishops look over, balanced by the theologians, and they, in turn, are balanced by the census pedanium, the census of the people as a whole. And that is fully balanced harmony of the church. And we all have to work for that. And we all have our place in it. I say, you see, a Catholic or a Christian should have a critical understanding of his faith. See, an uncritical understanding leads to people, since they reject the church, and they see that you're believing things that are quite obviously not true, and simply blindly obeying, then people just leave the church. But when they see your faith is rational, critical, and yet, on the other hand, open to guidance and to authority, then they get some understanding. So, as I say, this is a very critical moment, you see,


when these two uneducated men defy the whole council of the senators and the people, and assert they obey God rather than men. And yet, of course, the church found its own balance, where it had to reject certain authority, at the same time it had to find the real authority of itself. So, these are the problems, which, as I say, they begin with the apse of process. The church is always trying to find that balance of authority and freedom, which is something we still work at day by day. We celebrate this, this year's resurrection, and you have one of its effects, Peter and John, and build an Amen temple, and that's an external sign. And in this letter of Peter, we get some of this interior transformation


in which the resurrection works. It says, by his great mercy, we've been born anew to a living hope for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. See, once you believe Jesus has risen from the dead, gone beyond this world altogether, it awakes a new hope, a living hope, that we also are called to the resurrection. I think we have to remind ourselves continually of that, because the tendency today is to emphasize more and more the needs of this world. Of course, it's quite right, the needs are immense, but we have always to look beyond it. The end is always resurrection, a new life, a new world, and that is the meaning of Ephraim. And then he speaks of it, an inheritance, which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, or by God's power, guarded through faith for salvation. So that we have always to look beyond this world. Everything here is perishing, everything here is fading and defiled,


and there is an imperishable, undefiled, unfading. It's a wonderful saying of the Buddha, that everything here is, as he put it, is compounded, is made, is born, is changing, and that there is an uncompounded, an unmade, an unborn, unchanging. Every religion has realized that beyond this world there is this unchanging, infinite reality. And it's only faith teaches us that, but we're constantly to keep it before our minds that the resurrection is a sign of this new world, this new life. And so he said, in this you rejoice, so now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, that generous your faith may be proved. And we don't see this now, we see a great deal of tragedy, suffering around, and we experience it ourselves, but we have this faith, this conviction, this hope, that there is another life, a new life, which is already in us, beginning now,


which is waiting to be fulfilled. And then it says, without having seen him, you love him, you do not now see him, you believe in him, and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. See, we don't see the risen Christ, again, it's a matter of faith. But this knowledge that the resurrection has taken place, this faith awakens love. And then, of course, it's the expression of this faith, that once we awake to faith in the resurrection, we wake to love of God, of Christ, who has brought us to this hope, this faith, and this life he gives us is love, you see, it's the fulfillment of all love, it's the meaning of resurrection. You can think of it in terms of life, of knowledge, of other ways, but ultimately it's the fulfillment of love. So, though you have not seen him, you love him, you do not now see him, you believe in him, and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.


And this joy, this Ananda, you see, is the gift of love and of grace. It's also the gifts of the spirit of these love, joy, peace. And that's what comes from the resurrection. Once we realize that the call of this life beyond, then we experience this love, this joy, this peace. And the outcome of your faith is to obtain the salvation of your soul. So, this is really the Easter message. And that literal Peter is a beautiful example of what the resurrection did to the first disciples, how it transformed their lives. Turning to the dancer, and then we'll go here. We see how the early church,


they saw Jesus entirely in the context of the Old Testament, that they naturally were brought up as Jews, they saw all these promises, the prophecies, and they felt they'd all come to fulfillment in him. And they felt that they'd all come to the fulfillment And so, when they were persecuted, as they were, and they returned to their Psalms, and quote the Psalms, why did the Gentiles rage? The people imagined vain things. The kings of the earth kept themselves in a way, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed. And they felt this had all been fulfilled. Kings of the earth, Pharaoh and the Pontius Pilate, and then the rulers of the people of Israel had all gathered together against the Holy Servant Jesus, again that term servant, the servant of Yahweh, who was the divinant, the Messiah. And then, Lord, they make this prayer. Look upon their threats, grant to thy servant to speak thy word with boldness,


while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal with signs and wonders. And always the gospel word had been accompanied by signs and wonders. Again, it's typical of the Old Testament, Moses and Aaron, the plagues of Egypt, and all these signs and wonders followed the call of God. So here also, the gospel is accompanied by signs and wonders. And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. And this is one of these phenomena we'll come to more later on, where doors are opened and Peter goes out of the prison and so on. And these are psychic phenomena which often accompany spiritual renewals. And particularly in the 17th century in England, people called the Quakers, there might have been a society of friends founded by George Fox. And when he preached, the whole place where he was speaking was shaken.


That's why they were called the Shakers and the Quakers. And it's a psychic phenomena. When a certain power of the Spirit is generated, it has this kind of effect, there are many other effects of the same kind. I shouldn't make too much of them, but that's very much verifying. So here also, even this power of the Spirit that was in them, the house itself was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. So it was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit with this power to speak the word and to heal and to set going these other phenomena, physical phenomena around them. And it's well to remember these are typical, and you find in all religious revivals similar things take place. And they had their meaning, we shouldn't make too much of this. Primarily, of course, you see, filling the word of God with the Holy Spirit


and the great gift of God, and that's the essence of the Gospel. This is a reading from the Act of the Apostles. It's very, very important, because it's very, to my mind, it's a sort of program for social justice. You see, first of all, the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles and are filled with the Holy Spirit. And the effect of this was, company of those who believe were of one heart and soul. So the first effect of the Holy Spirit is to create this unity of heart and soul. And the next effect of that was, no one said of any of the things he possessed of his own, they had everything in common.


When you receive the gift of the Spirit and discover this oneness with one another, you spontaneously, you share your possessions. And that really is the only way that a social change can take place. It's no good really working it the other way around. You see, many people think, change the structures of society, make everything in common first. But that doesn't work, you see. Unless there is a change of heart, unless people have changed their hearts, that simply doesn't work. It becomes a slavery when things are simply held in common. It means the state controls everything. On the other hand, you can't get this unity of heart and soul unless you have the gift of the Spirit. You see, no human beings can find that unity among themselves unless they open themselves to something beyond their natural capacity. This is the whole message of the gospel, and that to all religions. The unity of humanity comes from above.


There's something in us, beyond us. And unless we discover that, we cannot achieve this unity and we cannot achieve this peace. So this is a great message which very few people realize today, even the fundamental Christians and many religious people, they still think that if you can change the structured society, or can do some other social change, you're going to make progress with humanity. Of course, you can sometimes make some progress, but it will never have any finality in it. You have to discover this inner mystery of the Spirit, and then from that, you awaken to this love, this mutual understanding, and from that, you come to sharing. And this, of course, is the monastic tradition from the beginning, you see. This passage was seen as a model for monastic life, that the monks, they received this gift of the Spirit in their conversion, and they came together in unity, and then they shared everything in common.


And I think we have to begin like that. We have to form communities which share the gift of the Spirit, which begin to discover this unity among themselves, and then are ready to share. You see, the sharing has to come from the heart. You simply impose common ownership, it doesn't take you anywhere. When it comes from the heart, and people do it spontaneously, then it's a fact. Of course, the movement of Sarvodaya, of Vinoba Bhave, of Vanduji, first of all, and then Vinoba Bhave, was an attempt to achieve this. And there were some quite remarkable successes, you know, I know villages in Tamil Nadu, where they did spontaneously share their goods in common, and tried to work together with a bit of all the different castes and so on. But of course, normally, it didn't go very far, because the other aspect of this unity of Spirit, though they're also the ones where you have a religious background to it, it does help people. So I think we have to see,


always with these three levels, you see, you cannot change society unless you change at three levels. Not only the physical, economic level, not only the social, communal levels, but also the spiritual. And of course, the spiritual, without the otherness to it, you've got to bring total wholeness to the society. And that, I feel, is really the Christian mission, you see, we can do what we can to change the economic situation, to help people in innumerable ways, and then we can do what we can to change social conditions, to cause problems, and so on, but it must all be based on this experience of the Spirit, which we share with others. And unless we do that, we're not preaching the Gospel, and we're not really effecting a fundamental change. So I always see this as really as a model, as I say, of what Christian Gospel is about. Then it goes on to say, that not a needy person among them, as many were possessors of lands or houses, sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold,


and laid at the apostles' feet. As far as we know, this didn't last more than a few years. We don't get any more of it, but the monasteries, the Father of the Desert, and so on, always felt that they were reviving this, creating a society of that kind. And don't forget, in the Middle Ages, you see these monasteries spread over the whole of Europe. Every country in Europe had hundreds of monasteries. In Russia alone, I think, there were 10,000, you know? And they covered their whole face, and for five centuries, they were the centers of culture, of both one religion, of course, but of culture and of agriculture, of economics. And so it was a reality. They created these centers, and they spread gradually. Then, of course, they got too rich, and many problems that came, and they got corrupted in various ways. But there was a time when they were really living out this. I feel that's really what we have to do, to create centers where this kind of experience of the Spirit, shared community, and sharing of goods really takes place.


So, we ought to keep that in mind. In this story from the Acts of the Apostles, we saw this kind of miraculous event. The apostles were arrested and put into prison, and the prison doors, an angel of the Lord came and opened the prison doors and brought them out. And they went back to preach in the temple, and then the guards find the prison empty, but the doors locked, and the guards standing there. Many people think this is a miracle, the act of God, but I think we have to see it in different terms. And it could be called a psychic phenomenon, but these kind of phenomena are extremely common.


It's not a miraculous intervention of God, it's the awakening of certain psychic phenomena, and of a psychic atmosphere. And it can be good, and it can be evil, and it can be neutral. And it's very commonly observed today. A certain force is generated in a situation, a place it may be, and these phenomena occur. Those who know the autobiography of a yogi, of Yogananda, know many, many psychic phenomena occur there. I've been well versed. And just going through doors and things like that. You see, we have this idea of matter, a solid substance, and nobody can walk through it. But today we know matter is not solid at all. It's this field of energies, and those energies can be changed. Other forces can work, and the phenomena, as we treat this to be psychic phenomena, then occur.


And a well-known example is of poltergeist phenomena. In some, there's a house in England which is supposed to be haunted, and these phenomena would occur. The furniture would suddenly start leaking in the air. All sorts of weird things happen. And they found there was a certain person there who had this psychic personality. Actually, it was a disordered personality. It was causing these confusions. And that is an example. And then, of course, you could have a different. And here, in this case, you see that the Holy Spirit was active, and when the Spirit is active, it often awakes these psychic phenomena. They can be good, and they can be rather embarrassing. Famous example is Saint Joseph of Cupertino. He used to meditate, and he would suddenly rise up and ascend to the top of a tree, and he couldn't stop it. And his superior had to command him to come down sometimes. And he would come down.


So the uncontrollable forces you see are at work like that. As I say, they're not to make too much of them. They're not miracles, really. They're phenomena which can be, the Holy Spirit can use them. In this case, the Spirit was using these phenomena to set the apostles free, and we can speak of it as an act of God in that sense. But it's God using a certain type of psychic personality and psychic situation. And so, as I say, these occur very, very commonly. In India, it's a well-known fact. All these cities, you see, are psychic powers. Sai Baba possesses of an abundance. And he also, you know, can appear to people at a distance, and so on, so it's quite a common phenomenon. And so we have to see it in that light. But, as I say, the Holy Spirit had produced a situation in which these phenomena naturally occurred. And so these things took place, and they rose up under the guidance of God,


and we can see the hand of God in it. But we mustn't mistake them, you see. There's a great deal of illusion created when we think this is a direct intervention of God doing something totally beyond the human capacity. But it's not so, you see, any parallel phenomena. So we have to interpret it in that light. Q. In this reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Apostles confronting the Jewish authorities. No doubt St. Luke has contrived this. Obviously, it's not a report on what has actually happened. But presumably, it takes a fairly faithful account of how the Gospel was preached to the Jews in the first place,


and their reaction to it. And so they say to them, we strictly charge you not to teach in this name, which you have built Jerusalem with this man's teaching. And then Peter gives this kind of apology, and it's obviously a sort of model, you see, of the way the Gospel would be presented at that time. It was to be God rather than men, which is a dangerous thing to say, of course, because he's redressing the leaders of the people, the religious leaders, claiming to speak in the name of God. The God of our fathers, St. Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree, God exalted him as the right hand of leader and savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. This is, of course, the heart of the Gospel message. And it was very challenging, you see. It challenged them with the fact that Jesus had been killed,


he'd been crucified by the authorities of the Jews, and it was a direct challenge, and either they had to admit that they'd made a great mistake, or they had to accept, and clearly they weren't prepared to admit to the mistake. And it says, we are witness of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him. You see, they see themselves to be witnesses, but they also believe that it was the Holy Spirit that was present in them, and it manifested itself in these works of mercy, healing, that they lay man, for instance, and the other phenomena which were taking place. They had this full conviction that the Holy Spirit was with them. And when they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. And you can understand, you see, it was a challenge to the whole religion of Israel. And very naturally, they couldn't accept it. Here were these unlettered men, uneducated men,


aiming to speak in the name of God against all the authorities of Israel, and presenting this Jesus who'd been crucified as the Messiah, when, of course, they didn't believe in the resurrection, they simply thought he was a man who'd been misleading the people and they had been destroyed. So, this was a terrible challenge, and one has to respect the Jews, you know. It was a very, very difficult thing for them to face. And, of course, today, still, the Jew doesn't see the reason of this. He feels Jesus was a holy man and a prophet in many ways, but he doesn't accept, obviously, the resurrection and the mystery of the Church and the Spirit. So, we're still faced with this challenge, you see. This message comes that this Jesus who was crucified, God has made Lord and Christ, that's how they originally put it. And that is the Christian message, and those who believe experience this gift of the Holy Spirit and this transformation of their lives.


But on the other hand, obviously, there are vast number who can't accept it, and sometimes it can be brought to their side, and sometimes, in the majority of cases, it's just a kind of blindness. I mean, faith is a gift, we say. It's a certain gift of illumination which enables one to discern this truth, and with that, you can make that change. But if you don't happen to have that gift, and if you don't respond in that way, then the whole thing passes you by. And for vast multitudes of people today, of course, it just passes them by. They don't see any significance in it. So this is the great challenge which faces us all the time, whether we accept that history of the cross and resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit which comes from it.