7 Apr – Easter Tuesday
On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.
Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.
they were cut to the heart
The Free Webster dictionary defines repentance as “to feel such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it”. Repentance begins first however, not in the mind, but in the heart. As we see from the first reading today, the Jews were “cut to the heart” after listening to Peter’s words.
Repentance is difficult though because as human beings, we are quick to defend and protect against that which hurts us, even if it means being defensive, irrational, unreasonable or proud. We would rather fend off and cover our hurts, then listen to words that make us feel weak and vulnerable. But in doing so, we sometimes build up walls that prevent God’s love from entering into our hearts.
In today’s first reading, the Jews repented because they were struck by Peter’s words. They allowed his words to convict them and it brought them face to face with the painful consequences of their actions – the murder of an innocent man. Not just any man, but the one who was their Saviour. They killed the “hero” whom their ancestors had foretold and waited so long for, with their own hands. Their actions were their own undoing and they could either (a) defend and justify their actions, or (b) accept, reflect and repent.
Repentance begins when we begin to admit our failings and ask the question, “What must I do next (to make things better)?” It begins (1) with the humility to admit that we don’t have all the answers and we may not always be right, and (2) the willingness to make amends and start things anew, from the bottom up. Sometimes, a simple apology might actually make things better. The simple step of admitting, “I might be wrong” goes a long way.
If Jesus, a man who had no fault but was made to bear our shame, could carry with total humility the humiliation of our sins until death on the cross, what’s a little admission and repentance on our part? After all, he has paved a way for us to repent with ease – for at the end of our repentance is not punishment. Instead, we face the unfailing love of God that desires to restore us into fullness of life with Him. May we repent this Easter, with eagerness to begin life anew with Him.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: We pray for the wisdom to recognise our faults, the humility to admit them and the willingness to make amends.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for your forgiveness and salvation, in the person of Jesus, your Son.