Reflection materials excerpted from the Chinese edition of the New Testament with Lectio Divina (by Claretian Publications), translated by Fountain of Love and Life
Reflection: In today’s world, under what circumstances would people doubt the existence of Jesus and His power? When do you find it hard to acknowledge your own faith? Why?
Prayer: Pray for those who get rejected due to their belief in the resurrected Lord. Ask God for strength so that you would never abandon your faith under difficult circumstances. Pray for the Church so that through continuous formation, the faithful are encouraged to spread the gospel.
Action: Strive to deepen your faith and share with your neighbours. Start spreading the gospel at home.
Acts of the Apostles
While they were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.a 3They laid hands on them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4But many of those who heard the word came to believe and (the) number of men grew to [about] five thousand.
Before the Sanhedrin.
On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly class. 7 They brought them into their presence and questioned them, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders:b 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, 10then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. 11c He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
13 Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus. 14 Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them, they could say nothing in reply. 15 So they ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, and conferred with one another, saying, 16 “What are we to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows that a remarkable sign was done through them, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in this name.
So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. 20 It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After threatening them further, they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been done was over forty years old.
Prayer of the Community.
23 After their release they went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. 24 And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, 25 you said by the holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant: ‘Why did the Gentiles rageg and the peoples entertain folly? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand and the princes gathered together against the Lord and against his anointed. 27 Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do what your hand and [your] will had long ago planned to take place. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 as you stretch forth [your] hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31* As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.i
Life in the Christian Community.
32 The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. 33With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34 There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, 35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. 36 Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, 37 sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
- Related characters: the Sadducees, “the priests, the captain of the Temple”, the High Priest Annas, and Caiaphas.
- “The stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone” >Jesus
- “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by whom we must be saved”. > Jesus is the only Mediator between Heaven and earth.
- “to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” Did Peter believe in “Predestination”?
Conclusion In this section, you have learned:
- The structure, operation, and teachings of the early Church testify the legitimacy of today's Catholic Church; the Church established by Jesus and passed down through succession, and apostolic, the one, holy, catholic Church of Jesus Christ.
- The Holy Spirit has engraved the new law on the tablet of the human heart, fulfilling the cruel law that was engraved on the stone tablets of the OT, established the New Israel – the Church.
- Acts confirmed the leadership of Peter in the new Church. He has inherited Jesus' key. His authority is equivalent to the first Pope.
- The faithful must repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.
- The baptism of children and infants are in accordance with the teachings of the early Church.
- The Church cannot be without proper teachings that are in line with that of the apostles, a faith community of charity, Eucharist, and prayer life.
- The relationship between the Temple of the Israelites and today's Church.
- Predestined” by God, that does not take away humans' freedom of choice.
Could the New Church be Communist?
- This philosophy reflects the times of Luke during which the Church was a closely knitted community under the oppression of the mainstream society. Members lived in expectation that the Last Day would arrive soon.
- The centre of this lifestyle lies in love and harmony rather than the sharing of personal properties: the community will not let anyone go without basic necessities to sustain a dignified life. This same spirit is the basis for today's faith communities. Communism may promote fairness; however, it does not guarantee love and harmony.
Acts of the Apostles
Before the Sanhedrin. / Prayer of the Community. / Life in the Christian Community.
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