Easter Tuesday – First Reading

Commentary on Acts 2:36-41

Today we see the first and immediate results of Peter’s proclamation of the Gospel message.

After Peter’s proclamation his hearers:

…were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

It reflects both their belief in what they have just heard about Jesus, and regret over their former rejection.

They are told to “repent”. Repentance was important in the message of the forerunner, John the Baptist (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), in the preaching of Jesus (Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3), and in the directions Jesus left just before his ascension (Luke 24:47).

‘Repentance’ implies not just regret for the past but, much more positively, a radical change to one’s way of thinking and behaving. It translates from the Greek word metanoia, of which the nearest English translation is something like ‘conversion’, a turning around to a completely new way of seeing life. This they pledge through being baptised and having their former sins forgiven and left behind, and receiving the gift of the Spirit. Each of the great apostolic addresses in Acts finishes with a call to conversion, leading to full reconciliation with God.

This is in fulfilment of the promises made by God in the past, and extended not only to the Jewish people but also:

…for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.

We are told that on that very day – the day of Pentecost – 3,000 people became followers of Jesus the Lord. Luke always likes to note the Church’s numerical growth and does so several times in Acts.

A reading like this is a call for all of us to renew our own commitment and to make the necessary conversion (metanoia) to bring us closer to Christ and the Gospel. It is also a reminder for us to share the Easter message with others. We may not have the same response that Peter got, but if we all brought one person to Christ what a difference it would make to their lives – and ours!

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