Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
(Acts 2:36-41; John 20:11-18)
In today’s first reading Peter has just preached the sermon of his life. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he fearlessly told the people of their great mistake in crucifying Jesus. He also proclaimed, without any reservation, that Jesus has risen from the dead. The people are not repulsed but convinced. They ask Peter, “What are we to do…?” Peter outlines for them a four-step response.
First, they are to repent. He does not have in mind breast-beating so much as changing their way of thinking. They are to realign their values and their lives in accord with Jesus’ care for the suffering love. Second, the people must be baptized. In this way they become part of a community where they will learn to love God and neighbor from the heart. Third, they should proclaim the name of Jesus Christ into whose mystery they have entered. They will not understand it completely, but they can tell others of his influence on them. Finally, they are to receive the Holy Spirit. This extraordinary gift manifests itself in different ways to different people. Every way has its value, but none is self-sufficient. Each person has to work with the others while keeping in mind the Spirit’s primary gift of love.
In the gospel Mary wants to cling to Jesus. We may have the same temptation. However, Christianity is not a “Jesus and me” religion. We belong to a community where we meet the risen Christ. We too, every day, must think in this new way. We must also celebrate the community into which we have been baptized. We cannot forget to proclaim Jesus to others. And we must love one another from the heart.