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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, 2nd Sunday of Easter, April 16, 2023

Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47 1 Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31

As I mentioned last weekend, we are being treated to a glimpse of what it was like to be part of the gatherings of the earliest Christians as we listen to passages from the Acts of the Apostles.

Focusing on today’s reading (from Acts) I am reminded of a clever song from the popular musical and movie, “1776”. It spotlights the birthing of a new nation, the United States of America.

In lovely harmony, the characters of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams jubilantly sing about the “chirp, chirp, chirp of an Eagle being born”. Each time I hear this song, I am filled with joy, celebrating with the singers this hard-won victory. I am filled with respect and awe whenever I consider all that went into the birthing of our nation. Not coincidentally, the word “awe” appears in this first reading today. “Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles”…and the Church was being born, right before their eyes, even in the midst of strife and persecution.

As we re-focus from the season of Lent to the season of Easter, I invite you to take a moment now and then to appreciate this time of new beginnings - both literal and figurative - as new life struggles to spring forth from the earth and new possibilities for faith, hope and love are generated in our hearts. Let the awe of God’s goodness and mercy and love stir in you a desire to pause, to give thanks, and to praise the lord!

The themes of joy and awe are continued in our second reading, taken from the First Letter of Peter, as we hear: “rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

And in today’s gospel, Jesus adds to the celebration theme by giving the apostles a Blessing of Peace…a lasting peace that drives out fear. And, in a powerful display of God’s great goodness, Jesus breathes upon them and invites them to receive the Holy Spirit. This is a foreshadowing of the Pentecost event, when Jesus gifts the Church with the divine presence of the Holy Spirit - for all time to come.

Christ calls upon the Holy Spirit to cast out fear, so that the apostles will be prepared for the mission on which he is sending them. And God’s Holy Spirit is given to us as well: to cast out fear, to grant us peace, to shower us with love, and to assist us in becoming instruments of God’s mercy and goodness for those whom we encounter along the way.

It’s all pretty awe inspiring, isn’t it?!

by: Bill Miller

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