Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday within the Octave of Easter

(Acts 2:36-41; John 20:11-18)

The word “heartbleed” sounds like the description of a romantic but actually is used to name a defect in Internet operations.  The recently discovered defect compromises the security of passwords which everyone uses to identify her or himself in Internet transactions.  As critical as passwords are for computer use, the first reading shows the apostle Peter proposing a new identification – a new password – even more important for the people of Jerusalem.

Peter is speaking on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Christ’s resurrection.  He boldly tells the people of their responsibility for the unjust crucifixion of Jesus.  He also offers them a way to forgiveness for the crime.  He urges them to be baptized in the name of the same Jesus Christ.  More than exonerating the Jews, baptism in Jesus’ name promises them the Holy Spirit.  This gratuitous gift will enable them to live in holy, loving ways that secure them on the road to eternal life.

We who call ourselves “Christians” should not betray the name that has been handed on to us.  It indicates not just a preference but a faith in the incarnation and resurrection of the Son of God.  It promises us as well the Holy Spirit who is lifting us out of the messy world of sin into the higher realm of virtue and grace.