Be Bold! Proclaim Jesus Christ!!
4/21/22 Mass Reading Reflection
Many of the first readings after Easter are taken from the Acts of the Apostles and begin to tell the story of the earliest days of Christianity known to the early Christians as “the way.” A basic tool for Bible readers to understand the context of passages is to make sure to examine the passages written before and after the selected lectionary readings for better understanding. For example, Thursday’s first reading is a speech which is a continuation of the same healing narrative from Wednesday’s readings.
The reading from Wednesday finds Peter and John near the temple area where they encounter a beggar who cannot walk asking to be healed. The beggar, through Peter, is healed by the name of Jesus Christ. The beggar “leaps” up—which St. Luke emphasizes twice by using the same Greek stem for ἅλλομαι—translated as “leaped.” The importance of what Luke is trying to convey is lost in the translation used by the lectionary. The New American Bible-RE translates the first use of the Greek word as “leaped,” but changes the next use to “jumping.” There is great importance for Luke’s use of the word “leap” in the healing narrative. The healing event in Acts Ch. 3 is interpreted by St. Luke by the emphasis of using the word “leap” twice to be the fulfillment of a prophecy of Isaiah found in Ch. 35 about Israel’s glorious restoration by the establishment of the Church.
Thursday’s reading from Acts, Peter’s speech reemphasizes Luke’s previous narrative prose by declaring:
17 Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; 18 but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, 20 and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus.”
Some modern theologians tend to equivocate when discussing evangelization vs. proselytization; typically, without defining either term. The important point to understand from Acts is that in the biblical canon from Old Testament—especially the Prophetic Literature—to the New Testament the modern proposition of dual covenants is not biblical. The Major Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah present a glorious restoration of the people of Israel which includes all nations—the Gentiles. St. Paul, a Jew, synthesizes this understanding from the Prophets in Romans 11. Ezekiel 34 claims the Lord Himself will come to shepherd His own people, which is represented in the Gospel of John Ch. 10—I am the Good Shepherd.
Lumen Gentium firmly teaches the faithful, “This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation.”
Therefore, for the purpose of the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, the faithful must propose the good news—as Peter does in Acts—as the culmination of the messianic fulfillment in Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls. So, let us be bold like the example of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ to the world.
 Ac 3:17–20, NAB-R.
 Lumen Gentium, 14.