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By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Apr 13, 2009)
Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33; Mt 28:8-15
"God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses." Acts 2:32
Witnessing a truly extraordinary event can certainly change your perspective.
On Oct. 13, 1917, an estimated crowd of 70,000 people at the Cova da Iria in Fatima witnessed something truly extraordinary. They stared in amazement as the sun whirled like a giant pinwheel, flaring off huge multicolored rays. Next the sun did the unthinkable. It tore loose and raced toward the earth like a gigantic ball of fire. All at once, the sun reversed course and returned peacefully to its normal place.
Journalists who came as skeptics wrote long descriptions of the heavenly phenomena for Portugal's secular newspapers.
In today's reading from Acts, Peter is giving witness to the extraordinary event of the Lord's Resurrection. The very one who had denied Jesus now gives bold proclamation publicly in Jerusalem that the one who was crucified has been raised and is the promised Messiah!
Two points are instructive about this apostolic witness to the Resurrection. First, Peter does not act alone. As the Scripture scholar Fr. Jerome Crowe, CP, emphasizes, "Peter's regular use of 'we' in these early chapters [of Acts] is Luke's deliberate association of Peter with the apostolic college."
Second, and most importantly, this apostolic witness comes not through any human power, but by the very Spirit of God. Peter explains, "Exalted at the right hand of God, [Jesus Christ] received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father and poured it forth, as you [both] see and hear" (v. 33). The apostles, then, are empowered by the Spirit to proclaim the good news of the Death and Resurrection of the Messiah, the Christ.
O Risen Lord, pour out Your Spirit afresh upon me. Empower me to share the good news of Your Death and Resurrection. Let me be a witness to You. Alleluia! Amen.