Thursday within the Octave of Easter
(Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24:35-48)
A psychologist explains the crucial difference between guilt and shame. Guilt, he says, is the recognition that one has done something wrong. Shame, on the other hand, is the judgment that one is a bad person. Guilt, he would conclude, moves one to reform while shame paralyzes any action. In the first readings this Easter week from the Acts of the Apostles Peter exhorts the Jews to feel guilty for their part in crucifying Jesus. But he provides them hope so that they do not fall into the pit of shame.
In today’s passage Peter accuses the Jews of killing Jesus. “’The author of life,’” he says, ‘”you put to death…’” As a demonstration that Jesus gives life, Peter has healed the paralytic in his name. Peter then explains that because the Jews acted out of ignorance, they need not feel ashamed. Rather they can repent of their misdeed so that they too might experience the healing grace of Christ.
Easter provides us with hope of eternal life. This grace begins now with the new life that comes from repentance and forgiveness. We experience it as the joy of leaving behind selfishness to walk with the risen Christ in love for others.