This Man Stands Before You Healed

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is our fourth week in our series called Vision.  And we are aiming to paint a vision of where God wants us and our parish to be over the next several years.  I have a vision and I want to make sure we all have the same vision of where we are going so that we all work with the same end in mind.

Jesus gave his disciples a totally new vision on that Easter Sunday morning of what life as a disciple is like.  His resurrection was the last thing they were expecting and they must have felt awful about their abandonment of him during his passion.  He had only a word of peace for them when he walked through the locked doors in the upper room.

This week we continue to hear about the growth of the early Church through the Acts of the Apostles (4: 8-12). Peter and John were on their way to Jerusalem to pray and a crippled man stops them and begs for money.  Peter says that he does not have anything to give him but, “In the name of Jesus Christ, get up and walk.”  And the man immediately gets up and walks.  The miracle attracts a crowd and Peter uses the occasion to preach explaining that the miracle came from the power of Jesus’ name, not any power that he had.

The next day Peter and John are brought before the high court and the authorities want to know how they healed this man.  Peter explains that is was the name of Jesus Christ, whom you crucified, and whom God raised from the dead that cured this man.  Peter repeats that there is no salvation through anyone else by which man can be saved.

Peter announces that Jesus is God’s plan to save the human race from our sin and selfishness.  That is why what we do here in our parish is so important.  It is the most important mission in the world.  Through the Word of God and his sacraments we get to introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ, who is the only one who can save us and bring us to the life that God wants for us.

Peter was able to cure the disabled man not because he was lucky or holy or brave or anything else, but because he was rooted in a community of faith that relies on the power of Christ.  The same is true for us.  We are able to do a great amount of good because we gather together and rely on the power of God; not my power, or your power, but on the power that comes to us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It is this power that leads us like Peter and John to not be afraid to speak and announce that Christ came to transform the world.   Every person, every relatives, every friend or co-worker needs to hear this.  God said to St. Francis centuries ago: rebuild my Church.  Francis thought he meant to fix the building, but God had something much greater in mind.  He wanted Francis to renew his Church from inside out.  God wants to do the same here by making us true disciples, true learners of leading others to God.  This invitation to announce Jesus Christ whenever you have an opportunity is needed in every generation, especially today where the majority of people are unchurched.  This can only mean that they are suffering a lot without a word from Christ who died to help them.

Let us renew the vision that Jesus Christ has for us.  He is the Good Shepherd who knows us better than we know ourselves.