Thursday, April 11, 2013

“The God of our Fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed, hanging Him on a cross. God exalted Him on His right hand as head and Savior, to bring Israel conversion and forgiveness of sins. Witnesses to these facts are we and the Holy Spirit, whom God to those who obey Him.” (Acts 5: 30-32)

Peter, the frightened Peter in the hour of the Passion, we now find in a totally different garb.  He has already experienced prison.  Now he faces the tribunal that orders him to speak no more of Jesus, and much less, accusing them of condemning Him to death, precisely they who are judging him.  He responds courageously to want to remain faithful to the mandate received by continuing to preach.  What’s more, he repeats that Jesus was killed by them and is now gloriously reigning with the Father.  He accuses them of homicide and affirms what amounts to blasphemy for his judges, the divine kingliness of Jesus.

What is the source of Peter’s courage and what provoked such a radical change?  The Peter who now stands imperturbably before his judges is not the same as before.  He has been regenerated by the bitter event of the tragic night that made him touch the depths of his human fragility and experience the unspeakable and immutable love of Christ.  He no longer relies on himself, but on the Spirit effused by the Risen One.  This humble awareness and his unconditional submission to the Holy Spirit have made him worthy to handle the arduous task entrusted to him by Christ, transforming him into an authentic and courageous witness.

Other tribunals have been raised through the centuries to silence the inconvenient and upsetting voice of Christ.  They are perhaps informal tribunals like the ironic smile, before which even today’s Christians find themselves.  Other ‘Peters’, humble, unknown disciples of the Risen One sustained by the Holy Spirit, have found and still find the courage to witness.  It may be uncomfortable, yet it is indispensable so that the world may re-emerge from its persistence in the darkness of an evil which has been already conquered.
Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will beg Jesus to give me the Holy Spirit so that I may have the courage to witness to Him always.

- Living Scriture