Reflection for April 27, 2000: Thursday in the Octave of Easter.

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Fortina, Deb
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Peter's Address to the People " ... why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness?..."|The Power of God's Name " ... Whoever keeps singing of your majesty higher than the heavens, ... you make him a fortress, firm against your foes ... "|Jesus appears to the Apostles and gives last instructions " ... So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this."|The reading today, from the 3rd chapter of Acts, is a little confusing because Luke speaks about a time in Church history which is chronologically out of place with our Sunday celebrations. The Church will celebrate Pentecost this year on June 11th, and yet in this reading, Jesus has already ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to these disciples who are then instructed to pass on the faith to the rest of us. It is by this power that the disciples are now clear on their purpose, they do know Christ and they do not hesitate.|It is interesting to reflect on Peter's reaction to the crowd of people who are witnessing the miracle of a man previously unable to walk, be able to move about freely, in fact jumping while he praises God. The apostles had seen Jesus do this many times in front of some of these same people. There had been so many degrees of belief and unbelief, even amongst Jesus' own followers. Can you imagine them wondering if it was worth the effort to explain anything to these people who had allowed Christ to be crucified, even though Pilot was willing to release him? Imagine the disciples' despair, knowing that as many times as Jesus had worked these signs for the people, they did not truly understand? Maybe they considered the energy of the crowd as experiencing a renewed feeling of hope, thinking as they looked on to the miracle that day, that maybe Peter was the Messiah they were awaiting? Such confusion, it is no wonder that we can't grasp the idea that God would send His Son to be slaughtered out of love for us, it was difficult for these people who saw with their own eyes the events of that day.|Peter responds to the crowd's amazement, asking them who do they think gave this man the ability to walk? He tells them that he and the other disciples are witnesses of Jesus' reign on earth, during which he taught and healed, all the while being misunderstood to the point that he was crucified, but they also witnessed his presence after he rose from the dead. Peter says " ... it is the name of Jesus which, through faith in him, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in him that has restored this man to health, as you can all see." (Acts 3:15-16). For me, today's readings speak directly to the point about human beings not being able to comprehend God, even while God is in their midst. The readings point out my constant search for the Truth, even though I don't recognize it when I see it.|Even more interesting is to think about the crowd's amazement at these mere mortals' ability to work these miracles. I feel their renewed hope. Sure they had witnessed parts of Christ's three year ministry, but if you had approached the Savior with different expectations, and then didn't listen to Jesus, while also hearing some of the lies of those you thought you knew, you might be confused too. You would still be looking for the Hope, the Rescuer. Not too sharp, but we are constantly hopeful. Just because we didn't hear the message, doesn't mean we will quit asking for the Truth. How many times have I not heard the answer to my questions, even though heaven is persistently responding?|Let us pray today, that through a renewed commitment to trust in God we may more fully grasp the message. God's ways are not our ways and we may not always understand. If we are to apply Jesus' message to repent of our sins, we first have to recognize our sins. Sometimes we have difficulty doing even this. The Holy Spirit is a gift to us, too. The apostles were able to speak with such conviction, while bridging the communication gap with heaven. The I AM is real, and Jesus was sent to show us the way. Sit with God's Word and let it become more real to you today. First ask the Spirit to reveal to you it's meaning, and to reveal your sinfulness. The Apostles did not get discouraged, but rather remained faithful. Help is a prayer away. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful ... |Readings Texts
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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