Thursday within the Octave of Easter
Psalm 8:2, 5-9;Acts 3:11-26;Luke 24:35-48
You are the children of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
Noticing that a crowd has gathered around the man whom they have just cured, Peter takes full advantage of the people’s curiosity. He launches into an address that both explains what has just happened and offers everyone else a share in the salvation that this miracle has revealed.
Although Peter announces that this salvation comes through repentance, he doesn’t just
address the people as sinners guilty of condemning Jesus to death. Rather, he addresses what’s best in their nature and experience. He invites them to take hold of the grace God has already given them. He recalls the God they have always worshipped and reminds them that in Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, this God is now freely healing people and giving them new life.
Generously, Peter attributes their part in the death of Christ to ignorance rather than to malice. Then he goes on to point to the promised blessing that is rightfully theirs. No wonder so many are eager to believe!
What a model for us as we take up the call to share the gospel! We are surrounded by people who need a savior. How do we view them? How do we talk about them? How do we talk to them? It can be tempting to focus on their shortcomings and sins, but such an approach can lead us to turn our backs on them as being hopeless. It will certainly lead them to keep their distance from us! No one is attracted by condemnation!
On the other hand, we can try to develop a more positive attitude. We can begin by looking for Jesus in each person around us. We can try to identify his image in them and look for ways that they manifest his goodness. Certainly any desire to do the right thing, any impulse of generosity or sense of justice, can show us a way to talk with them about the Lord. If we begin at this spot, we’ll find it easier to help them take one step closer to the God who is already at work in their hearts.
All it takes is an open, respectful heart. The rest is up to God.
“Father, you loved me long before I came to know you. Open my eyes to see how you are at work in every human heart.”~WAU