We, too, are to bear witness to the risen Christ to the ends of the earth.
In this reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit empowers disciples to
be Jesus’ witnesses throughout the world:
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the
beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions
through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he
presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during
forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered
them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he
said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be
baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come
together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to
Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set
by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the earth (Acts 1:1-8).
In this the second volume of a two-volume work, the author of the Gospel of Luke
and the Acts of the Apostles depicts the new Christian community, filled with the
Holy Spirit, as the means by which the earthly ministries of Jesus will continue to be
carried out to the ends of the earth.
One of the first things the risen Jesus undertakes is to persuade his followers that he
still lives. He does this through a series of “many convincing proofs.”
Also, like Mary Magdalene in yesterday’s reading and reflection, the apostles
portrayed here must also let go of their own expectations in order to carry out the
ministry of Jesus.
• They are focused on worldly concerns, such as when God will finally restore the
kingdom of Israel.
• Jesus reminds them (and us!) that this is solely God’s business, not theirs.
• They are to wait patiently for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, and it is the
Spirit that will direct them about how to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the
Questions for reflection
• Identify some of the “convincing proofs” in your own life that have persuaded
you that Jesus is truly risen and continues to be a living force in the world today.
• What are some of the things you deeply desire for God to do in your world that
nevertheless require you to remain patient and to leave them in God’s hands?
• How do you experience the Holy Spirit today as an energizing and inspiring
force, particularly when it comes to guiding you about when and how to be a
witness for Christ in the world?
God of life-giving power and wisdom: thank you for showing me the many ways
that you continue to bring life into the world through the ministry of Jesus; grant me
the patience to wait for your timing in my life, rather than insisting on my own; and
give me the strength and courage to recognize your Holy Spirit when it does
energize and inspire me to bear witness to the risen Christ. Amen.