April 17, 2015
A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time, and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel, be careful what you are about to do to these men. …” Acts 5:34-42
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jn 6:1-15
In both of today’s readings we can see two important calming forces in the face of crisis situations: the Pharisee Gamaliel and Jesus. And it’s interesting to note, that this was the same Gamaliel who was the Rabbinical Master of Saul, the zealous anti-Christian, who would later become Paul, the staunch Christian Apostle. And if we didn’t know any better, we might think that Gamaliel was actually defending the Apostles in support of Jesus.
Which may have actually been the case. But in doing so, he was walking a very thin line – between a mob of angry Sanhedrin, of which he was a member, and getting himself excommunicated. So, very diplomatically, Gamaliel calmly presented a rational case, with real-life examples, which acted like a soothing balm on a fiery bee sting. And the Sanhedrin relented.
You see, two things can happen when we step back, out of a crisis situation, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and our actions, instead of our emotions. First, the logical, the rational and the morally-acceptable solutions become more obvious. And often lives are saved in the process.
And Second, we might even open ourselves up to taking part in a miracle. In our Gospel, the disciples were challenged with the crisis of feeding thousands of people. Their immediate observation was that there was NO food. But in stepping back, and returning
the problem to Jesus, the very Author of Life, the disciples discovered that miracles ARE possible. And without fanfare, and without panic, Jesus calmly sat down, gave thanks –
in credit to God, and fed the masses. Problem solved, crisis averted. And as Jesus foresaw the next storm brewing on the horizon, He calmly withdrew to safety, again.
In the many crisis situations we face today, it’s always good to step back and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work, before that first emotional response causes us to regret an action that can haunt us for the rest of our lives, as it did for Judas and as it did for Pilate. And when our well thought out solutions – fail to work, we’ll step back again, and again,
and keep on trying, because we KNOW that one way or another, God WILL see us through, to the Glory of His Name and in the Love of Jesus.
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