Brothers and sisters,
Happy Easter!! We are just past the halfway point of the Easter season, so it’s still time to be celebrating and rejoicing in the great news of the Resurrection!! I love the Easter season not only because I take a break from the fasting that I normally do the rest of the year, but also because the readings from Mass are from the Acts of the Apostles. There are so many great events that took place in the life of the early Church, and they are all done by regular people like you and me. This one line from Acts sums it up: “Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43).
My favorite event is from the beginning of Acts Chapter 3. Peter and John are going into the temple area to pray, and they see a man who was crippled from birth begging at the Beautiful Gate.
“Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.’ Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong” (Acts 3:4-7).
There are two things I really love about this event. First, Peter looked intently at him. I think this is when Peter was praying to the Holy Spirit on what he should do in this situation. He had compassion for this crippled man, but didn’t have any money that he could give him. As he looked intently at the man and prayed, I think the Holy Spirit inspired him to heal this man in the name of Jesus Christ. Secondly, Peter had the courage and conviction to risk looking like a fool in front of so many people, but being empowered by the Holy Spirit, he boldly and confidently healed this man in the name of Jesus Christ. These two things that Peter did are great examples of the “Culture of the Holy Spirit” that we are called to live in a charismatic covenant community; a) being inspired to pray for healing and guidance, and b) taking the risk to look foolish as we are obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Peter is an ordinary man with plenty of faults just like each of us, but he was filled with the Holy Spirit and allowed himself to be led by the Spirit to be used in whatever way was needed for the greater glory of God. Brothers and sisters, this is our call as members of City of the Lord! We are a Holy Spirit people, and our world is very much in need of the healing power and love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!! As our Community Prayer says, we must continue to “pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on City of the Lord this day -- that through the power of the Holy Spirit we will grow in zeal for the apostolic mission of evangelization”
Let me give you an example of something that just happened to me. I served a funeral and committal (burial) recently, and as I was leaving the grave site, a friend or family member of the deceased came up to me and thanked me for being there. He said the service was beautiful, and he shook my hand and slipped me two $50 bills. I thanked him for his generosity, and started to drive home. As I was driving home, I was praying about what to do with the $100. I had just received a letter in the mail from a pro-life group, so I thought I might donate the money to that organization. As I continued to drive, I realized that it was hard for me to give this money away once I had it in my hands. Since becoming a deacon, I’ve gotten money like this before and I’ve been keeping track of it thinking that I’ll give it away at the Lord’s prompting, but yet the longer I have it, it seems harder to give away.
With these thoughts in my head, I got off the US 60 at Rural Rd. The light had just turned red, and I saw a middle-aged woman with a homeless sign at the corner. I was in the far right lane, and she was 3 lanes over by the left lane. I don’t normally give money to people in these situations, but rather give them a homeless bag with some goodies in it if I have one, but I didn’t. I looked intently at the woman, and felt inspired by the Holy Spirit to give her $50. I called her over and handed her the $50 bill. She looked at it and said, “Oh my God, you saved my life!!” She held my hand and I could tell that she was sincerely moved by the offer of the money, and I told her that someone just gave me this money and that God wanted me to give it to her. She was so thankful and appreciative, that I felt inspired to give her the other $50 as well.
She said, “What are you doing?! Oh my God!”. I told her that God loves her and He wanted her to know that. She was moved to tears and went back to her spot on the corner. She waived to me and I drove the rest of the way home. I don’t know if I really saved her life or not, but I definitely felt that God wanted me to give her that money and let her know that He loves her.
I share this story because we have to think outside the box from what we normally do. The Scribes and Sadducees could not look outside their box of rules, so they had Peter and John arrested for healing the crippled man. Instead of rejoicing and seeing the goodness and love of this healing, they could only see that their rule of healing on the Sabbath was broken.
I know sharing the Good News with others isn’t easy to do, and I’m certainly always trying to improve in that area, but I believe that if we start praying more with each other for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God will use City of the Lord in new and amazing ways. We are not only an Isaiah 60 people, but an Easter people, and we need to allow God to use us in whatever way He pleases. As a Provisional Coordinator in City of the Lord, I am always asking God for vision in this area, but I do know he calls us to Arise and Shine! (Isaiah 60)
The world may be crumbling around us, but “we are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song!” We must be ready to share our joy and the Good News at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Let’s continue to pray for each other in COTL to be more open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and “to place our lives under the reign of the Lord Jesus, to love and serve our God and one another with our whole lives and to follow His plan wherever it may lead us, as members of the CITY OF THE LORD” (COTL Preamble).