Readings: Acts 2:36-41, Ps. 33:4-5, 18-20, 22, John 20:11-18

“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37)*_

Yesterday, we heard the first part of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost Day. This sermon, which explained the manifestation of spiritual gifts among the disciples that day (especially the ability to speak in foreign languages), was purely inspired by the Holy Spirit and brought about the conversion of three thousand persons to the Christian Faith. As the crowd listened to Peter, his words became “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). This brings us to today’s lessons:

1. The Power of Jesus’ Resurrection: Peter, who once denied knowing Jesus, held the audience spellbound as he taught the life of Christ. Today’s First Reading is the concluding part of Peter’s sermon. Luke tells us that the audience was “cut to the heart.” What was responsible for this superb transformation? Like Peter, we are challenged today to tap into the Resurrection Power of Jesus. As St. Paul says: “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)

2. Focus on the Message, not the Messenger: After listening to Peter, the crowd asked: “What are we to do?” This crowd remains a model of how we listen to God’s Words. They did not ask Peter about his degrees or qualifications. They were not concerned about where he came from or his profession. Although most of them were Jews who had come from different parts of the world to celebrate Pentecost, they did not ask Peter to work signs. Do not be distracted by the messenger when listening to God’s Word. Instead, allow the message to work in you by asking important questions such as: “What must I do? What needs to change in my life? What can I improve?”

3. Take Action: In response to their question, Peter mentioned two points: a. “Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of your sins” and b. “Save yourself from this crooked generation.” What sins are holding me down spiritually? If today we make up our minds to turn a new leaf, God, like the Prodigal Father, is ready to receive us. Today’s Psalm says: “His merciful love fills the earth.” One great saint said: “God is never tired of forgiving us; we are the ones who get tired of asking His forgiveness.” Never assume your sins are too much. Repent today and return to God, your first love. The second aspect of Peter’s recommendation is connected to the first: repenting means we save ourselves from the evils in the world. If Peter described his generation as crooked (perverse), what would he say about our generation? The fact that something is popular does not mean you should be part of it. Dare to be different for good.

4. Dry Your Tears, Jesus is Alive: Tears are good, but when they become too much, they prevent us from noticing our blessings. In other words, while crying helps us to pour out our hearts to God, there comes a point when crying becomes an expression of unbelief. When we cry too much, we become blind to what God is doing for us. This is when, like Mary Magdalene, we mistake Jesus for a gardener. Mary was not expecting to see such a beautiful face. She was looking for the bruised and derided version. Sometimes, we pray to God in tears, but deep within our hearts, we continue to look for negative news and expect something bad. Dry your tears. Start counting your blessings. Look, God is still working. His power has not dimmed a bit.

5. Go and Announce the Good News: Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “Go and tell my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Easter is incomplete unless we proclaim the message of the resurrection. While Peter encourages us to save ourselves from this generation, Jesus tells us to help save others.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, may I be a light to my generation. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Easter Tuesday. Bible Study: Acts 2:36-41, Ps. 33:4-5, 18-20,22, John 20:11-18).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu