The surreal atmosphere of the present “crisis of fear” which is being relentlessly exploited by the media and its political allies brings into sharp focus the courageous reply of St. Peter and the apostles before the Sanhedrin as recorded in chapters 4 and 5 of Acts of the Apostles. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God you must judge… We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 4:19; 5:29) Christians now find themselves in a similar situation with the sudden closing of churches by secular authorities, thus preventing us from fulfilling the divinely mandated obligation to worship God as a community.
This is no small matter because one’s duty to God actually supercedes any civil duties. Christ clearly drew this distinction when he said, “render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mt 22:21) Therefore, obedience to Caesar does not excuse one from the far greater obligation of obedience to God. St. Thomas More expressed this relationship concisely and beautifully on the scaffold only moments before his martyrdom. “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” Continue reading