instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Three words

One word in each of today's readings jumped out at me at Mass:
  1. "Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance...."

    Peter has just told the people of Jerusalem that, when given the choice, they rescued a murderer and put the Messiah to death.

    And what does he call them? "Brothers."

    He can do this because he believes the very Messiah Who was put to death will wipe away their sins if they repent and convert. Later he will come to call even Gentiles his brothers.

    Nowadays, we seem reluctant to call each other "brother."

  2. "The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments."

    But who keeps Christ's commandments? We keep some of the commandments all of the time, and all of the commandments some of the time, but all of the commandments all of the time? "If we say, 'We have not sinned,' we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

    Can we never be sure we know Him?

    Maybe not, but if (through our own fault) we find we can't keep Jesus' commandments, we might still find we can keep returning to them.

    That's not our end goal, of course. But it might be the means to the goal. After all, "If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing."

  3. "You are witnesses of these things."

    The disciples had been with Jesus and seen His works, His death, and now even His resurrected body.

    But they are not merely observers. They are witnesses. A witness sees, and then reports.

    I wonder if the disciples realized, as they followed Jesus in the heady days in Galilee, that they were in training for their new vocation as witnesses to all the nations.

    And of course, we all know that "witness" is just the English word for the Greek "martyr."

    We who have seen don't have a choice. We must also report; we must be witnesses. IF we are not witnesses to the nations, then our very silence will one day be witness against us.