Thursday within the Octave of Easter
Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24:35-48
Lit by tongues of fire,
Deniers and deserters
Set the world afire.
Like a caterpillar morphed into a butterfly, the apostle Peter flew boldly into the light and witnessed to astonished crowds about Christ’s death and resurrection. Without flinching or shame, the friend who denied Jesus three times accused his audience of denying their Lord.
“You Israelites, why are you amazed at this, and why do you look so intently at us as if we had made him walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, [the God] of Isaac, and [the God] of Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and denied in Pilate’s presence, when he had decided to release him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.Acts 3:12-15
Something special transpired between the cockcrow on the night of Jesus’ arrest, and the appearance of the risen Lord to his disciples in Jerusalem on the third day after his crucifixion.
“The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”Luke 24:34
Cleopas and his companion, after a long walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, joined the disciples in Jerusalem who were animatedly conversing about Jesus’ personal meeting with Peter. What did the two of them talk about?
Sacred silence shrouds their private encounter. Like the thirty hidden years of the Holy Family in Nazareth, some things are not meant to be pried. The meeting of Jesus and Peter is mentioned only one other time by Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5).
Jesus had been aware of Peter’s deep mourning at cockcrow on the night of his betrayal and hastened to heal his broken heart after meeting Mary Magdalene and the women at the empty tomb. The one-on-one meeting prepared Peter for the group appearance in Jerusalem. As the disciples’ leader and spokesman, Peter needed to know that he still had the trust and love of his master and Lord. Jesus fully restored their friendship and Peter’s credibility as his witness.
Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away…Acts 3:17-19
Peter mercifully excused his Jewish brethren for denying Jesus, just as he had done on that fateful night. Something bigger and greater than sin has metamorphosed the landscape of reality. The darkness and ignorance of the ages have been deluged and transformed by Light from Light, God’s holy and anointed Son.