May 23, 2024

Peter was once a doubting apostle who even betrayed his best friend Jesus not once but many times to protect himself.
Peter was a witness of the risen Jesus. He conversed and ate with Him while his faith was transformed and renewed by the risen Jesus.
I constantly encourage everyone to read the Acts of the Apostles to appreciate faith and the story of our church from her genesis.
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. (Acts of the Apostles 4:32-33)
The early beginnings of Christianity were described with deep sense of communion and courageous witnessing. It is noteworthy to mention that goods were distributed according to need to mean equity among them. There was no jealousy and no complaining because of their pure intention to be ministers of the gospel of the risen Christ. It was a lovely Christian community.
For the love of God is keeping His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. (1st St. John 5:4) The purity of motivation and intention built on the love of God impelled the disciples to advance the proclamation of the risen Jesus. As they declared and proclaimed the Lord, they experienced the immense love of God in the ministry. Following the commandments of God while doing the mission was not a burden for the apostles.
We ponder on the Acts of the Apostles 3:13-15, 17-19. From a coward Peter, we see him transformed by the love of the Risen Jesus.
He publicly proclaimed Jesus was glorified by God. He challenged the people to examine their mistake of handing Jesus to death.
He pointed out their mistake of denying the holy and righteous One.
He declared God who raised Jesus from the dead.
He strongly exhorted the people to repent and be converted so that sins maybe wiped away.
He affirmed the fulfillment of God’s promise announced by the prophets.
He dared to announce that he and his fellow disciples were witnesses of the truth.
We also learn from the 1st Letter of John 2:1-5 to add to our reflections on the Acts of the Apostles. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Those who say, “I know him,” but do not do His commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them.”
Repentance is an intrinsic part of conversion. Conversion is not a sheer consequence of feeling but a deep movement of the heart to become better and to turn away from the old self.
On the other hand, it is not enough to say sorry for the past sins and mistakes. We must repent, repair, and renew.
I know of a community who find joy in the downfall of their fellowmen. Even men are not spared from gossiping their neighbor and they feel good accusing one another with groundless accusations.
The people are judgmental. They live in lies. I was just imagining on how the leaders manage themselves in living and directing these people. When one leaves the group, she or he expects to become the topic in the group conversation. Worse, they claim to be Christians but they live the contrary.
The beautiful genesis of the early Christian communities started to be challenged by jealousy, untruthfulness, and greed.
We read Acts of the Apostles 6:8-15. Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working with great wonders and signs among the people. People who debated with him could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit which he spoke. Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” They presented false witnesses who testified against Stephen.
There broke out a severe persecution of the Church in Jerusalem. (Acts of the Apostles 8:1)
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