Today’s First Reading: Acts 3:11-26 – OCTAVE OF EASTER – EASTER THURSDAY: 25 April 2019
The fact that Peter and John healed a lame beggar in the name of Jesus would have been a great miracle on its own. But in the aftermath of this marvel, Peter went even further, showing the way to a far greater miracle: the healing power of God’s mercy.
Peter explained this healing in an odd way: He told the people to repent, to change their minds. He urged the to confess the wrongs they had done and ask the Father for forgiveness. It was as if he were saying: “If you want to know the same power that made this man whole, open yourselves to God’s mercy so you can turn your lives around”. For Peter, there was no difference between the power of God to heal disabled legs and the power of God to forgive sins. Both were miracles, and both sprang from God’s heart of love and compassion for His people.
Peter told his listeners not only to repent, but to “turn to God” as well (Acts 3:19). It’s in this act of changing direction, of submitting ourselves to Jesus, that repentance is transformed from a simple apology ti the grace of ongoing conversion. It’s in this act of opening ourselves to the mercy of the Lord that we are transformed bit by bit into the image of Jesus Himself.
It’s amazing how simple the Gospel message is: When we repent and turn to God, He forgives us and transforms us. Through the cross, Jesus has already reconciled us with God. He has already overcome sin and broken the power of the evil one. All we need to do is step into the new life He has made available to us through the door of repentance. That’s when we experience the “times of refreshing” Peter spoke about (Acts 3:20). Our burdens are removed, and heaven is opened for us. The heaviness of guilt and anxiety gives way to the peace and security of knowing we are forgiven, beloved children of God.
Jakarta, 25 April 2019
A Christian Pilgrim