Faith Has No Blueprint

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

April 24, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, we meet Gamaliel, the revered rabbinical teacher and early mentor of St. Paul.

Rembrandt_-_Old_Rabbi_-_WGA19186
The Old Rabbi by Rembrandt

With his patient wisdom, Gamaliel famously intervened  to save Peter and John from the Sanhedrin’s wrath.

“Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men….
…I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

Biblical scholars have interpreted Gamaliel’s intervention in various and even contradictory ways. Some see in him a hesitancy which will believe only that which is proven and successful. Others suggest that Gamaliel was already a believer who maintained his Sanhedrin position in order to assist the early Christians. In the Catholic canon, Gamaliel is venerated as a saint whose feastday is August 30.

Thinking about Gamaliel may lead us to the question, “What do I need in order to believe?” 

  • Do I, like the Sanhedrin, need to see proven success?
  • Do I, like some of the crowd fed in today’s Gospel, need miracles?
  • Do I, like the rich young man, need answers to all of my questions?
  • Do I, like Thomas, need to see and touch the Resurrected Christ?

In other words, am I looking for a faith that is a fail-proof blueprint, or is my faith a living journey with Christ, as was Peter’s and John’s?

John4_4 bread word

The Apostles’ faith and trust were so complete that they saw even persecution as evidence of God’s plan and power:

So the Apostles left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

When we are completely given to God in faith, all our life experiences bring us closer to God. All circumstances reveal God to the deeply believing heart.

May we grow every day in that kind of faith.

Music: Increase Our Faith – David Haas

Lord, increase our faith.
With all our heart, may we always follow you.
Teach us to pray always.

So I say to you,
Ask you shall receive.
Seek and you will find.
Knock,  it shall be opened to you.

Whoever asks,
they will receive.
Whoever seeks shall find.
Whoever knocks, the door will be opened.

If you with all your sins know how to give
how much more will God give
to those who cry from their hearts.

One thought on “Faith Has No Blueprint

  1. It appears to me that Gamaliel was not only wise but also humble. I don’t believe he had converted at the time when he mediated on behalf of the apostles. There were other false messiahs in Palestine who were eventually exposed to be frauds and movements that died out. I can understand his patience and practical reasoning. Certainly, he was a truthful man who feared God. Perhaps he did become a Christian afterward as he witnessed the spread of Christianity beyond the borders of Palestine.

    Liked by 1 person

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