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God and Not Men

Memorial of Saint John Baptist de la Salle, Priest

First Reading: Acts 5:27-33

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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34:2 and 9, 17-18, 19-20

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
Many are the troubles of the just man,
but out of them all the LORD delivers him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Gospel: John 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things.
But the one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard,
but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.
The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life,
but the wrath of God remains upon him.

NAB

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Sometimes I feel alone. As I spend my days with my five children (the oldest of whom is five) driving a 12-passenger van, and thinking about going to a homeschool convention, I think, “How in the world did I ever get here?” Not to the convention, but here, to this place, in life.

I was always going to have three kids (before I was 30, mind you). I was never going to be a “van mom” (I prefer a suburban). And, homeschooling was something I made fun of in my oh-so-wise teenage years. I had my life planned. God did, too. And apparently we didn’t quite see eye-to-eye.

Now I sit here as a 34-year-old mom thanking God that I am right where I am. I love my life. Yet the midst of the overwhelming blessings He has given me, there are still days when I let the teachings of men lead me to feel alone as I try to obey the teachings of God.

Sometimes it is difficult to convince others that my children weren’t born out of irresponsibility. There are days when I feel like I’ve gone over and over the reasons we’ll try homeschooling with those who question it only to end the conversation with the listener wide-eyed and responding with, “Children need to be social.” And, honestly, I’ve even had moments that I’ve had to talk myself into believing it all again.

It isn’t because I am not 100% behind the direction we’ve chosen to live our lives through many, many prayers. It is because sometimes it just feels like it would be easier to not be the odd ball of the bunch. And, that’s when it hits me . . . we must obey God rather than men.

It has never been easy to do so. The Apostles were killed for it. Christians today are killed for it. And here I am complaining about not being able to go to the grocery store without a few wide-eyes gaping at me.

Whatever you are doing in order to try to fulfill God’s will, you can handle it. I can handle it. We can handle it together. He did not promise ease, but He did promise that we would never be alone . . . even if we sometimes feel that way.

Take a moment to reflect on the ways you are trying to obey God. Take courage in knowing we are on this journey toward Heaven together.

photo credit

Britt Fisk is the wife of Jeremy and mother of five young kids.  She spends her days living simply in the-middle-of-nowhere-New Mexico helping with the family beef cattle operation. You can find out more about her here.

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