The contrast between the First Readings of this week and the Gospel readings always strike me. In the First Reading, we have been hearing from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. Peter and John are no longer afraid of the Jews and are boldly preaching Christ's name to the Sanhedrin. In the Gospel Accounts, these same men are hiding and quivering in fear of this same group of Jews.
What is the difference?
Obviously, they've had an encouter with the Risen Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. I think it is a good lesson to keep in mind that during our lives as Christians, whether ordained priests or lay person, there are going to be times when we are persecuted and have to face a trial for our testimony. Still, Jesus promises that He will be with us and that the Spirit will give us the words to say. Again, Jesus's words throughout the Gospel echoes true: "Do not be afraid!"