There is a theme today in the readings: obedience. We hear Peter and the Apostles talk about it in the first reading from Acts 5. And in the Gospel reading from John 3 we read, “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life.”
Peter and the Apostles are dragged before the Sanhedrin, the high court of the Jews. The high priest reminds them that they were given strict orders to “stop teaching in that name.” But Peter and the Apostles answer, “We must obey God rather than men.” While that seems like a pretty simple statement on the surface, let’s dig a little deeper. Because this can very often be much easier said than done.
The Church has always put a high priority on following one's conscience. But there must be the distinction that it be a well-formed conscience. This means formed by the teachings of the Church. Many today - even within the Church - are saying that folks can follow their conscience, even if that conscience is formed by the world and goes against the teachings of the Church. That is disobeying God. But it's the easy way, usually done to justify some sin. In the end, obeying God can be really difficult. But it is always the right thing to do.
Father, forgive us for those times when we cave in to pressure and obey men, when it is against your will. Give us the courage and strength to always obey you. Amen.