Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

29 April 2011

Notes in the Octave VI: Can't Keep the Man Down

The author of the Acts of the Apostles (traditionally thought to be St. Luke) must have had a few holy chuckles as he recorded the exploits of Jesus' first ambassadors.  He notes the amazement of the Jewish intelligentsia at local yokels Peter and John.  How these fellows can perform such mighty deeds and utter such convincing words, they will never understand or accept.  Fraught with fear, what else can they do but engage in random acts of oppression?

But Peter and John proceed unalarmed with their ministry of evangelization and healing because, like the twenty-centuries-removed hot dog company, they "answer to a Higher Authority."  Since then Christians have known that persecutions of the Church paradoxically cause her to increase in quantity and quality, in the same way that the exercise of muscles can, with the proper rest and nutrition, stimulate their growth.

The officials' chastening falls on deaf ears; their blows hit rubber and bounce back on them with equal intensity.  And the crowds go wild!


Then you have the "Longer Ending" of St. Mark's Gospel (vv. 9-20, although the day's reading stops with verse 15), which has been accepted since ancient times although it is different in style and vocabulary from the rest of Mark.  It abruptly relates the unbelief of several disciples, and then features Jesus calling the Eleven to task for their hardness of heart (i.e. intellectual contempt).  Verse 15 lays out the program to be followed until Furthest Notice: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."  So long as this is in place, from Pope to pew-dweller, nothing will keep down the Man-God and His Own.

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