Mass Reading & Meditation for April 14, 2013
Meditation: Acts 5:27-32, 40-41
3rd Sunday of Easter
We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)
Is this the same Peter who had denied that he even knew Jesus? Doesn’t it take years—if ever—for us to overcome our fears? Let’s take a look at what happened in Peter to bring about such a transformation.
Spiritual transformation is usually connected to the grace of repentance. Luke tells us that just after Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, “the Lord turned and looked” at him. That look must have broken Peter’s heart, because it moved him to “weep bitterly” (Luke 22:61, 62).
Jesus must have known that those tears would move Peter to repentance, because he told him at the Last Supper, “Once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). He told Peter to use this experience to warn, comfort, and sustain the members of his Church.
In addition to the grace of repentance, Peter received the grace of the Holy Spirit—a grace to help him keep Jesus in the forefront of his mind long after Jesus had ascended into heaven. It was the Holy Spirit, living and active in his heart, who kept encouraging and helping him to stay faithful to the call to obey God, even if it meant disobeying the Jewish elders.
Here’s the good news: what happened to Peter can happen to us. We can be transformed! When we confess our sins, Jesus doesn’t just forgive us. He teaches us how to use our experience of his mercy to comfort and sustain the people around us. And at the same time, he gives us a greater outpouring of his Spirit so that we can find the strength and courage to remain faithful to the Lord and his calling on our lives.
Obeying God’s commands is meant to be a joy, not a burden. If we can learn to rely on God’s grace—both the grace of repentance and the grace of the Holy Spirit—we will be transformed as well.
“Come, Holy Spirit, and change my heart!”
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19