“If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.” - St. Francis of Assisi
(Scripture Text: Acts 2:36-41)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
St Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:3 that: “If I give away all that I have and if I deliver my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing”.
Nothing! Listen carefully now. It is possible to undertake numerous “humanitarian projects” and still not bear any “fruit” for the Kingdom of God. Give away all your goods and your own life, too, and come to nothing in God's eyes. It is possible to be eulogized by the world as the greatest philanthropist or the most devoted martyr and still not please God. Why? Because what pleases God is walking by the Spirit and being led by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit! The great problem in contemporary Christian living is not learning the right things to do but how to do the right things.
As St Peter in today’s scripture passage above told the gathering crowd about Jesus and his miraculous, saving resurrection, the people were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). What began as curiosity—and maybe even an annoyance ended in great joy. Not only had Jesus risen from the dead, his own Holy Spirit was moving in them, urging them to welcome him into their hearts. Jesus’ story became their story, and their lives were forever changed.
As Catholics we often can have all the facts and evidence before our eyes without seeing what God is telling us through them. It's not enough for us to grasp on to him, for example, in Eucharistic adoration or in his holy Word. If that's all we're doing, over the course of time, we'll start to grasp onto our own images of Jesus rather than the real Jesus. To hold on to him we need to give witness to him of how we've seen him, heard him, been touched by him, and been saved by him. The more we give Him to others in small actions of love daily the firmer our grasp will be.
Mary Magdalene, once a great sinner, was the first one to see the resurrected Jesus. Scripture tells us that at first glance she did not recognize Christ by the empty tomb. She thought he was the gardener (Jn 20: 11-18). Seeing that Mary did not recognize him, Jesus said to her, “Whom are you looking for”? Once she realized that it was in fact Jesus standing in front of her she cried out in Hebrew, "Teacher," and ran to grasp onto his feet. After having lost him once, she was never going to let him go.
Let us do the same.