As Jesus the Risen Christ prepares to ascend to His Father, he announces:
“you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Talk about an expansive set of marching orders for His followers! When we think about how this comes to happen, we often think of great apostles like St. Peter or St. Paul (and for good reason!). However, there’s a wonderful detail in Acts of the Apostles that shows the possibilities of ordinary believers empowered by the Holy Spirit. Luke, our author, points out that it’s the vast number of ordinary believers, especially Greek-speaking Jews, scattered and pushed out of Jerusalem who first bring the Gospel of salvation to Judea and Samaria (8:1).
Did you catch that? It’s not the Twelve, who [initially] remain in Jerusalem and Judea. It’s ordinary men, women, and families–their names unknown to us–in a situation of peril and persecution who carry the message of salvation in Jesus Christ to the lands outside of Judea. They didn’t have the latest copy of the Catechism or even a written New Testament. They weren’t scholars or world-renowned apologists. Yet, they knew the message to share. If nothing else, they could announce that God’s Son took on flesh and rose from the dead–and they had experienced the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
What’s your message to share?
Without quoting the Bible, referencing the Catechism, or telling the story of a canonized saint or pope, what’s the personal experience of Jesus Christ in your life that’s worth telling others?
What Jesus said to his followers in the 1st century is true still for us today! When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power. Ask for it! And with this supernatural power, you will be a witness, “to the ends of the earth.” This is the astounding gift of grace, that God shares his own life and mission with us, even in our weaknesses, even in our distress, even in our moments of feeling “scattered.”
He is Risen. Let us be filled with power and go forth!