Posted by: frburke23 | April 10, 2013

Thought for Thursday of the 2nd Week of Easter

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in
and made them stand before the Sanhedrin,
the high priest questioned them,
“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men.
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this,
they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.


I am writing this from St. Meinrad seminary in southern Indiana where I am visiting with 8 of our seminarians.

The religious leaders tried to silence the Apostles.  They saw how dangerous Jesus was to their standing in society.  They gave strict orders not to teach in Jesus’ name, yet the Apostles did not stop.  They had reason to fear, for this Jesus, whom they had crucified, had risen from the dead and His name would spread throughout the world.  Instead of jumping on the bandwagon with Jesus, they decided to try to silence His followers.

I love St. Peter’s response to the high priest.  “We must obey God rather than men.”  How often do we follow God rather than the ways of the world?  Do we know when we are following God?  One of the things that we are all called to do is to form our conscience.  To do this we must get to know the Lord through prayer and study.  We need to learn about Jesus, the good, the true and the beautiful.  When our conscience is well-formed and we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and strengthen our will, we tend to choose God above all things.

However, when we do not invest time in prayer and study each day, our minds are swayed by the ways of the world.  We start to make decisions based on popular opinion rather than God’s ways.  We have seen the moral decline in our culture over the last 50 years.   Our television shows used to be rated PG, but now many of them are R-rated due to language, violence and sexual content.  Hollywood is pushing an agenda that is anti-God and this has had a powerful effect on the world.

We as Catholic Christians need to stand up for what we believe.  Our beliefs may not be popular.  We may lose friends or acquaintances.  We may be pushed to be more “tolerant”.  And yet the popular culture that pushes tolerance is not tolerant of traditional Godly views.  We must not back down.  Let us take time today to reflect on how St. Peter and the Apostles did not back away from the pressure they felt from others.  They were willing to risk their lives and eventually they did give their lives for Jesus.

What am I willing to give up for Jesus?

Do I follow God’s ways or the ways of the world?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke



  1. Thank you Fr. for your post and your personal comments. I remember you as a visiting Priest at my church in Bartlett, Resurrection. I was then very pleased to have you as one of four spiritual directors for the Men’s 125th Cursillo
    Retreat. It was great to hear your journey and your calling to the Catholic Faith and then to the Priesthood. Along with the others you helped make it a memorable experience. Your post today and personal comments ring so true for me. I pray now to have Jesus give me the strength to resist worldly demands and instead to come closer to him and give witness to his word. Your post today gives me courage to continue on my path to become the person Jesus wants me to be. For this I thank you.

  2. Praying for you and the mrn of meintad. Tell thrm we are praying with them . Safe drive home burke. pete

    Sent from my U.S. Cellular Smartphone

  3. Nice post!
    Many Catholic/Christians have it precisely backward where the ways of the world are progressive (God’s ways) and the ways of the Church are regressive (man-made ways). I think the discipline of study is especially lacking, as St. Augustine says in Confessions, “But who can invoke you knowing you not? For one who knows you not may invoke you as other than you are.”

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