Wednesday within the Octave of Easter
The name Christian registers negatively in the minds of many today. At Christmas people refuse to use the word. The Crusades are seen as unforgiveable sins even as current Muslim atrocities beg Christian forbearance. Standing Christian morality respecting life from conception and preserving sexual intimacy for marriage is viewed as quaint. It should be noted, therefore, how St. Peter employs the name of Jesus in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
Peter, John, and all Christians of the day go to temple for prayer. They do not see themselves as separate from their countrypersons although they recognize they have an advantage. A crippled man begs them for alms as is his custom. Peter does not turn away but acknowledges the beggar’s need by looking at him intently. He tells the man that as a human being, he is powerless to help him. Then he invokes the name of Jesus which has the power to save. Pulling the man up from the ground, Peter watches him walk.
Invoking Jesus’ name allows us to overcome natural limitations. We should hardly be ashamed of using it name except, of course, in vain. We need to recognize publicly that it is Jesus who gives us the grace to visit the sick and speak up for immigrants. We have to keep in mind as well that his name represents love and peace, never oppression and violence. If the world is to be saved, it will be through his name.