Grace to you and Happy Easter!
We continue our reflections on the Resurrection.
Acts of the Apostles summarizes the activities of the first disciples and witnesses of the life of Jesus Christ. In fact, the book was intended to describe, in summary but deliberate way, the accounts of the life of the early Church as observed by a non-Jew medical professional, Luke.
Many are of the opinion that those actions or witnesses of the apostles could be properly called the Acts of the Spirit of Jesus, or of the Holy Spirit, in the lives of the Apostles. But only two of the apostles’ activities were prominently documented, namely, Peter and Paul. John and James’ stories were treated sparingly in the book.
The story in Acts of the Apostles are powerful; and if you want to learn how the early Church bore witness to the faith after the ascension of Jesus, Acts of the Apostles should be the first document to review.
Here, I am particularly interested in Acts 4:33: “With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great favor was accorded them all.”
The turning point in the apostle’s faith-journey was the fact of the resurrection. From the news of the resurrection, a new faith-life began for them, and when the Pentecost came, their preaching was vivified by the clear message that Jesus is alive, he resurrected and he is, therefore, the Lord.
Upon the resurrection rested the decisive moment of the audacity of faith of the early disciples. Paul’s conversion drew him to the daring truth of the resurrection as well: “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10)
As believers, we do not need to be apologetic about the fact that Jesus resurrected. It is upon this truth lies the boldness of our faith, at least in part. Without the Easter morn, our faith as Christians would’ve been empty.
Early last year, I had a one-on-one chat with Jim Caviezel who portrayed Jesus in the 2004 Film, The Passion of the Christ. He alleged having personal encounters with Christ during the filming which left a lasting impression in his heart. His experiences were so powerful as to inspire him to constantly talk about them. He saw with his eyes, and felt deep within his heart, a glimpse of the truth of the Passion and the impression has not left him since.
The experience of the resurrection of Jesus was so powerful in the minds and hearts of the disciples of Jesus that it was a constant refrain on their lips. The confession has additional favor too. Hear how Scripture describes it: “Great favor was accorded them all [meaning the disciples]” (Acts 4: v. 33b).
Favor could also be translated as grace or blessing. The Christian blessing, favor or grace is tied to the Christian faith in the Risen Lord. Constant recourse to the Christ of the resurrection increases our spiritual wealth. Thus we grow from grace to grace, favor to favor, glory to glory.
I pray your life and faith are firm on the truth of the resurrection and favor be granted to you too, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Second Week of Easter, Tuesday: Acts 4:32-37; Jn 3:7b-15]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.