April 6, 2016
Here in these-post Easter Sunday days, we read through the Acts of the Apostles during daily Mass. Now it may just be a personal anomaly, but Acts always seemed to get lost in the shuffle; for me, it was more of a decrescendo, a footnote to the Gospels. Yet the apostles' acts are, frankly, astonishing. The lame and paralyzed are healed, the apostles are secreted safely from of imprisonment, even the dead are raised!
The apostles here are flesh-and-blood examples of John 9:12-14:
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.
And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.
Do we truly believe these words are true for us? Do we truly live these words? Have we forgotten the sheer power that lies behind our prayer?
I must confess: For a period in my life, I was an avid concertgoer (*gasp*), especially for hardcore punk and metal bands (if you're looking for recommendations or to trade favorites, hit me up!). One such band, evangelical Christians who perform under the name Sleeping Giant, were notorious for powerful preaching between songs. Seeing them perform once at a festival, their vocalist was delivering a message about this kind of expectant faith. He cited the above verse from John and bluntly, unequivocally declared, "I have prayed for healing for strangers and seen it happen in front of my eyes. I truly believe that I will see the followers of Jesus Christ raise the dead." The unspoken corollary, of course, would be, "...if it be the will of God."
His point was not to set himself up as some holy roller, some great leader, or simply to shock (well, maybe a little, but with good intent), but rather to place emphasis squarely upon Who it is that hears our prayers. Why shouldn't the name of Jesus bring about miracles such as these today?
See how much power the apostles commanded in Acts! It was not because they had more access to God's promises than we do. It is because they had an unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ, whom they had seen, touched, and with whom they had broken bread. It was because they had the Holy Spirit within them, and were ordained by the Father to jump-start Christianity. They lived and breathed the Gospel of Christ, preaching with every given moment they had.
Here is the clincher: the fact remains that we, through the Church, have access to the Father as much many of the disciples, short of face-to-face interaction with the person of Christ. The Lord of Lords reached down from heaven to tenderly wash us in the waters of Baptism. The God of the Universe dwells bodily within us in the Eucharist. He Who is Being Itself has sealed his power, the Holy Spirit, within us through the oils of Confirmation.
Do we live our faith as if this is true? As Lauren challenged us, do we preach throughout our lives, knowing this is true?
Praised be Jesus Christ.