St. Athanasius

Acts 5: 34-42

But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, ‘Fellow-Israelites,consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared.

After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail;but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!’

They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

For the Sake of the Name

Our Easter season journey through the Acts of the Apostles gives numerous examples of situations where the early followers of Jesus suffered “for the sake of Jesus’ name.” Some suffered imprisonment, torture, even death. These men and women rejoiced that they were found worthy to share in Jesus’ passion and even death.

In our own time Christians continue to suffer in various ways “for the sake of the Name.” And in our secularized culture it isn’t always popular to be known as Christian or Catholic. Perhaps as you read these lines you remember some situation where you or someone close to you experienced ridicule, rejection or worse for following Jesus and standing up for his values.

Pope Francis reminds us that, in such moments, Jesus hastens to support and feed us…perhaps not with barley loaves and fish, but with courage and strength to live the gospel and follow in Jesus’ steps…even when doing so gets tough.

For me what exactly does living and working “for the sake of the name” mean in practical terms?

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Day by day, day by day
Oh, dear Lord, three things pray
To see Thee more clearly
Love Thee more dearly
Follow Thee more nearly,day by day.

—Excerpted from “Day by Day” lyrics, Godspell