Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
The reading from Acts of the Apostles is perhaps one of my favorite readings in the New Testament. It’s common that we will find ourselves in a position where what is being asked of us, we simply do not have or cannot provide. Peter and John are being approached by the crippled man who asks them for money. The man is expecting money, but Peter and John can’t give them money, but what they give him is far better than all the money in the world.
We can’t provide for the needs of everyone, even if we want to. Sometimes I experience this feeling of powerlessness in ministry when I am listening to someone who is going through a terrible hardship in their life. No matter how much I desire to alleviate their grief or take away their pain, I cannot. Overwhelming as the situation may be, it doesn’t make me hopeless because I don’t trust in myself—I trust in God. God can bring about the healing others need, and Peter and John remind me that I’m just called to be the instrument that leads them to Jesus Christ.
“I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you…”
If we don’t have Christ, overflowing in our hearts and ready to give generously, then we will feel ill-equipped and hopeless. On the other hand, if we trust in God, what we can offer people is what they truly need. We are called to be “other Christs” in this world, and if you look at the Emmaus story, hope is precisely what Jesus gives the two downcast disciples—He gives them an encounter with Himself, simply by accompanying them. Christ’s presence is enough to bring comfort to those who are mourning and those who desperately seek peace.
Peter and John’s role, my role, and your role is to put those who are suffering in touch with Jesus Christ. There is no greater gift than this. If our lives radiate Christ and we demonstrate it by our hope and daily actions, then people will come to us in times of difficulty. Our love for Jesus Christ is the greatest witness and comfort that we can offer people. Look around, isn’t this exactly what the world is hungering for?
Reflection Question: How can you share the gift of faith in Jesus Christ with the people in your life?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB