There is a passage in St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which is called “the Queen of the Epistles” and today’s readings exemplify.: it says “Now to the one who us able to accomplish far more than we can ever ask or imagine, by the power at work in us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever Amen. (3:20-21) The first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles takes place a very short time after last Sundays Gospel, where we saw that “the disciples locked the door of the place where they were for fear of the Jews”.
What a difference! talk about “the one who can accomplish far more in us than we can ever ask to imagine”! Today we see those same disciples dragged before the High Priest for interrogation and now they are unafraid and continuing to witness to the power of Jesus despite the fact that - the High Priest had given them “strict orders not to teach about that Man” The High Priest complained that the Apostles were making “them responsible for that Man’s blood” as Peter and the Apostles tell them right to their faces - “that the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, whom you put to death.
Today’s reading leaves out the part that says the Pharisees wanted to have them put to death right there and then, but instead they were flogged. The Acts of the Apostles does tell us that “for their part, the Apostles left the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.”
The Gospel too exemplifies how God accomplishes far more in us then we can ever ask or imagine. First of all we see that left to ourselves we accomplish little to nothing. Then the Lord appears and asks them to cast their nets to starboard side, they cast it and caught so many fish they had to drag it to shore. and then he not only feeds them with the ‘Bread of Life' but he also takes Peter aside and asks Peter three times “Do you Love me?” The Agape kind of love (God Love) is much more than just human Love. And this was to counter act his three denials.
This reminds me of a story that exemplifies this - You may have heard of James Caan who was nominated for the Grammy Awards, for his Role in the Godfather may years ago. After that, all sorts of roles were offered him, but he took four years off and he spent this time coaching his and other children. Then someone asked him: ‘Didn’t you miss the creative process of making movies?’. He said: I have never done a more creative thing than coaching my children and the other children. Some 20 years later he told a story of a nine-year-old child of a single Mother. He was a big child for his age but just couldn’t hit the baseball, he kept his head down; he’d take his eyes off the ball. The less he hit the more self-conscious he became. James Caan worked every day with him but got nowhere. The last game of the season, they were behind again, and the young boy got up, with three team mates on the field at each base. He hit the baseball and it went way over the outfielder. He ran and ran past first base, second base and Coach Caan encouraging him to do the home run. Just before home run, he stopped Blessed himself and jumped up and down with excitement and smiling from ear to ear, then he jumped on home base. Everyone clapped and ran out to hug him.
My dear friends, that’s how God is with us and not just with us but with all humanity, He never gives up on us. We are unique and very important in God’s eyes. St John saw it in a vision “Every creature in Heaven and Earth and under the earth and in the sea; everything in the universe will say aloud to the One on the Throne, and to the Lamb be praised and honour and Glory and might” .We will finally realise that “the power at work in us accomplices far more then we could ever hope or imagine.”
During this week maybe we can try to see the great work of God in our lives and be a help to those we come into contact with, to see that God is the only one who can help us accomplish far more than we can ever ask for or imagine. May our minds and hearts be open to receiving these gifts and graces from Him.