When I was growing up, I had seen a crime suspect in my neighborhood. I described to the police officer what the person looked like, as I was an eyewitness. Perhaps at least once, you also were an eyewitness…perhaps in court, at the scene of an accident, in the signing of documents or as a godparent, sponsor, best man or maid of honor. There are many other times when we witness and don’t even think about it. Think about the last time you went to a sporting event, maybe a baseball game…when you came home, you described what happened at the game to your friends, family or coworkers who were not there. You were an eyewitness to the game. You were able to provide an account of what you saw and experienced. Another person, at that same game, might provide a different account of what happened. Who is right? Of course, you both are right – as each describes that which impressed them or what seemed most important.
In the same way, the four gospel writers told the story of Jesus Christ from their own perspective, either through firsthand experience or by recording the witness of others who were with Jesus. We know that having four gospels give us a much better understanding of Jesus.
In today’s gospel, Jesus instructs his disciples to be his witnesses to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. This is exactly what Peter is doing in today’s first reading. What does it mean to be a witness for Jesus? We should understand this – as Jesus’ instruction to those early disciples is the same instruction for us!
The answer lies in the examples illustrated above – one must have an experience to be able to share it with anyone else…we have an experience of Jesus Christ. Each of us has a different experience…our spiritual journey is unique…while we share much in common by being Catholic, by being members of a family…the relationship we have with Jesus Christ is very personal. One could say that we have a story to tell…just like those first disciples…
Why tell this story to anyone? For the same reason those early disciples did…to bring souls to
Jesus…to touch hearts…specifically to change hearts…this is the power of the risen Jesus Christ working today in and through us! May the Risen Christ bless you! Deacon Mike