The reading from Acts today reminds me that we Christians are all called to share the Good News about Jesus. Some of the apostles had been arrested for preaching about Jesus, and had been placed in a public prison. The apostles felt compelled to tell the story of Jesus and invite others to join them, so that they, too, might be saved. I wonder how I would have reacted to being imprisoned for sharing the Good News about who Jesus is and what Jesus offers us followers? I’d like to think that I would have kept on proclaiming Jesus, but I have to wonder if I would have trusted God’s plan under imprisonment.
It would have been amazing to have been released from prison by an angel of the Lord, and I think that part of the point of the story is just like the apostles are told by the angel; all followers of Jesus Christ are called to “tell the people the whole message about this life.” The whole message is that Jesus loves us and everybody, that Jesus came to saves us all, that Jesus calls us to follow him in love and humility, and that Jesus invites us each day to choose life with him. For me that means being willing to try to be aware of my own greed, my own self-interest, my own judgments of others, and my need to be well thought of by others. As I try to go deeper with Jesus in love, service, and commitment, Jesus always seems to invite me to “come away to a quiet place” and to try to proclaim Jesus in my life. Sometimes it’s easy to proclaim Jesus, and sometimes when I’m having a disagreement with my wife about parenting, it’s not so easy. I want to have things my way, and I don’t always feel open to a process of dialogue, listening, responding, and forming a plan together. There are days when I would much rather leave out the messy, disturbing parts of life. But all of us are called to live in the here and now of life, and called to walk the smooth roads, the bumpy roads, and roads in all kinds of condition on our journey with Jesus.
I believe that just as the apostles were transformed into bold proclaimers of Jesus after the coming of the Holy Spirit, so you, I, and all followers are called to be transformed as well. How am I sharing the love of Jesus with my family today? How do I share the love of Jesus with my neighbors and my co-workers? How do I share the love of Jesus with those whom I don’t agree with and don’t particularly like? These are questions that can lead me to reflect more deeply on how I am following Jesus, and hopefully lead to action, just as the apostles were led to action. I need to be with Jesus, in order to grow in my faith, but I also need to do, so that my faith is alive.
I invite all of us to find some time to just be with Jesus, today and this week, as we listen to Jesus calling us and inviting us. I also invite us to respond to the call of Jesus in our lives – what am I to do for Jesus right now? May we all follow Jesus more gratefully and joyfully in our post-Easter journey.