In our readings for this Wednesday of the second week of Easter we discover a very interesting contrast between two wonderful invitations from the Lord. One invitation is to live our faith in Easter joy and light. The second is to do just what the apostles did: openly proclaim that Jesus is Lord and not fear the consequences.
In the Gospel from John 3: 16-21 we discover one of the most popular and summary expressions of our Christian faith: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Surely there is no more clear and concise expression of the kerygma of the early Church than these few lines. We learn that we are to proclaim this truth by living in the light which is where the truth may be found, not in the darkness where one finds wicked things that are inimical to truth and light.
But, as we discover in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, there is a price to be paid if we are to choose the light and live in it fully. For the apostles it meant that they could no longer hide and live in fear; instead, they realized that they were called to leave their fear behind and go out into the light, into the temple area, and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. A prison awaited them for their courage and willingness to openly proclaim their faith in the Risen Lord.
We are also called to live in the light and to proclaim our faith with no less courage and trust than the apostles themselves. Will it cost us imprisonment? Probably not, though there are some places in the word this very day where imprisonment and worse awaits those who embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior. But there is a cost, nonetheless, and we are called to be heroic and refuse to live as anonymous followers of the Lord. Each of us this very day is asked to consider what this means in our own life. Go out and proclaim to all you meet that Jesus Christ is risen! Go out and announce the good news that God has so love the world that he sent his son as our savior. Go out and live in the truth, the light, so that your works may be clearly seen as done in God. Go out and live in the light and proclaim the Good News!
Fr. Pat Brennan, CP is the director of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.