In our readings in the first weeks of the Easter season, we are hearing the first steps of the Church from the book of Acts. I have not focused on these readings as much as they are events that occurred after Pentecost which is still a month away. Nevertheless, it is worth some attention now. In fact, it is worth reading this book in the Easter season that runs from Easter to Pentecost.
If I were to sum up the book of Acts, I would describe it as the early Church living a period of. This phrase is the same phrase we describe the ongoing formation for the RCIA/RICA neophytes (newly entered members into the Church.) What is “mystegogia”? As you can tell from its root, we are talking about “mystery”. What mystery? The mystery of our faith, the mystery why God would die for us, the mystery of how does a human rise from the dead? but more than this, it is the mystery we all celebrated in the Easter Vigil/Easter Day, the sacraments. How does an infinite God come to exist in His fulness in a finite world and in the finite moments of sacraments?
The book of Acts walks through the lives of some of the disciples/apostles, like Stephen, Peter, and Paul to not only recount what they did in those first days after the resurrection, but also to show us what it looks like to live the fulness of the Resurrection. They remind us that the disciples’ lives and priorities changed once they accepted the Resurrection and once, they received the gifts of the Spirit.
At the same time, we are celebrating the Easter event, we are preparing for the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. For all of us who have received the sacrament of Confirmation, we believe we have received the 7-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit. The new life that Jesus brings in the Resurrection is not the end of a season that the new life of Easter is a life that asks us to change our priorities, that asks us to put the will of God and others first. We can return to our lives the following Monday morning as we do most Mondays.
If one’s studies are not going well in school and your parents are asking you to do better, it is time to put school first. If your marriage is struggling over a battle of wills, it is time to put your spouse first. If you find the biggest choices of this season is what you are going to buy or planning your summer vacation, it is time to put the poor first. The new life the disciples and apostles found was putting God first and if we want new life in our lives, that is what we must do also.
With a heart for Mission,