“Go…and tell the people everything about this life.” There is no stopping the Spirit of God.
I find today's first reading quite humorous, mostly because it goes into such detail! As I read the passage, I imagine the apostles escaping from their jail cell, walking out through the doors, seemingly right in front of the guards. The next day, totally unbeknownst to them, the guards are standing in front of a jail cell that is empty! When the court officers report back that the apostles are missing, everyone seems bewildered. In the meantime, the apostles are wasting no time sharing the good news with the people of the town.
There is no stopping the Spirit of God. God wants to get the message out and is not going to be thwarted by the powers that be who try to keep the words of liberation at bay. The first few words of our Gospel story are some of the most well-known lines in the Bible. God so loved the world. Perhaps this is what the apostles were proclaiming to the people in the temple area. The Resurrection reveals that God didn’t, and still doesn’t, respond to us with vengeance or disappointment, but with great love. This love is magnanimous and abundant. It is a love that moves us and awakens us. And this love finds its way to the far reaches of our world and the far reaches of our hearts. There is no one who remains outside of God’s embrace.
The depth and breadth of God’s love brings about new life. It is a life lived in the light. And it’s true, the darkness can pervade our hearts. It can turn us away from living as the people God calls us to be. Yet, through God’s help, and not solely on our own doing, we keep turning towards the light. We are on a journey where we are always becoming. We let God transform us, freeing us from the darkness that grips us, so that we may be formed as disciples ever willing to be an instrument of, and witness to, God’s grace.
God so loves the world, and God loves the world through us. We are the Body of Christ, meaning that God’s love is experienced tangibly through our expression of love, compassion, encouragement, and care. The psalmist proclaims, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” We are called to hear and respond to those most in need. In his book, Tattoos on the Heart, Fr. Greg Boyle writes, “God is compassionate, loving kindness. All we’re asked to do is to be in the world who God is” (62).
May we today, continue to open ourselves towards that which offers light and life. May we today, be bearers of light for those who cry out in need. May we recognize that we don’t travel this path of discipleship alone, but that we do so with each other and with God by our side.