MANY HAPPY RETURNS?
“After being released, the two went back to their own people.” –Acts 4:23
The Church has completed the eight-day celebration of the Octave of Easter. We have been celebrating Jesus’ return after three days in the tomb. When Jesus rose from the tomb, He returned to His followers. He then acted with great power, teaching the Scriptures and conferring the Holy Spirit in a life-changing way.
Peter and John imitated Jesus’ pattern when they were set free after being held captive. Upon “being released, the two went back to their own people” (Acts 4:23). Together, they prayed with such confidence and power that the building shook. “They were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). The apostles later continued this pattern of imitating Jesus: whenever they were set free, they returned to their fellow believers immediately (Acts 5:41ff; 12:11-12; 14:19-20).
Like Jesus, Peter, and John, we’ve been celebrating our own release from captivity these past eight days. Where now will we return? Many return to their TV to watch baseball or basketball. Others return to the movies, soap operas, restaurants, and other diversions. Will we return to the isolation of the pleasures of this world, thereby stripping ourselves of power? “Remember that you have been called to live in freedom – but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh” (Gal 5:13). Imitate Jesus and the apostles. Return now to your brothers and sisters in Christ, and return in the power of the Spirit (see Lk 4:14).
PRAYER: Father, “grant to Your servants, even as they speak Your word, complete assurance by stretching forth Your hand in cures and signs and wonders to be worked in the name of Jesus, Your holy Servant” (Acts 4:29-30).
PROMISE: “I tell you you must all be begotten from above.” –Jn 3:7
PRAISE: Pope St. Martin asked himself, when abandoned by former friends, “Why am I anxious? The Lord is near.”