Our first reading today from Acts (4:13-21) continues yesterday’s account of the apostles Peter and John before the council of priests and elders known as the Sanhedrin. We’re told that the priests look down on them because ‘they were uneducated laymen’: this is a warning to all of us not to disparage people if we think they’re uneducated or lacking in professional or theological knowledge; it’s very easy for all of us, particularly clergy, to do this. Throughout human history God repeatedly chooses those whom the world looks down on; many great saints found studies difficult; we all need to know the limitations of human wisdom and learning.
The gospel today is a sort of appendix to Mark’s gospel (16: 9-15), because the text in the best Greek manuscripts ends with the previous verse ‘they were afraid’ – the account here of Jesus’ resurrection appearances fit in with those in other gospels.
Part of the Easter narrative for the Church has always been the baptism of adults at the Easter Vigil, which of course in most places has simply not happened this year, so people will be baptised and received into the Church later in the year, after restrictions have been lifted. In the early Church the newly baptised kept their white baptismal robes on during Easter week, removing them this weekend, so the traditional title for today is ‘Sabbatum in albis’ and tomorrow ‘Dominica in albis’ (‘Saturday / Sunday in white robes’). So it’s a good time this weekend to pray for the hundreds of people who have had to have their baptism delayed, that God will strengthen them and help them to be patient.
Take care and God bless