Step #1: Lectio / REad
On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people,
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made him both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other Apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
St. Peter is giving this awesome, spontaneous, Spirit-filled sermon to the Jewish people. It sounds pretty inspirational... to us. But did you read it closely? Listen to what St. Peter is actually saying. "This Jesus whom you crucified." Ever heard one of those homilies where the priest starts talking about some controversial Church teaching? Maybe it's about abortion, homosexuality or not going to Mass every Sunday. You can almost feel people in the pews around you getting uncomfortable. People are scowling. Babies start crying. You might even think to yourself, "Uh, Father, careful how you say that..." One of the first big sermons we hear from St. Peter in the Bible is like a controversial, awkward homily. But the Jewish people listening to him take it pretty well.
It goes on to say that they were "cut to the heart." When St. Peter told them about "this Jesus whom you crucified," they realized that it was due to their sins that Jesus died on the cross. But instead of getting angry and defensive, they let the truth of St. Peter's words penetrate their hearts. Instead of wallowing in their guilt and shame, they asked St. Peter what they could do to make things right. That's when he told them to "repent and be baptized." To humbly seek God's mercy.
It must have worked: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day."
The challenge for us is to allow ourselves to be "cut to the heart" when we realize that it was because of our sins that Jesus died on the cross. Not to be blinded by our sins and despair, but to humbly seek God's mercy. Instead of wallowing in our sins and acknowledging God's mercy, we are called to acknowledge our sins and "wallow" in God's mercy.
During this Easter season, let's remember to be overwhelmed by His mercy, not our sins. True, Jesus died for your sins... and He rose again to prove that His mercy is bigger.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, 'What are we to do?'"
Do I truly realize that it was because of my sins that Jesus died on the cross?
Do I acknowledge that I have sinned, or do I downplay or make excuses for myself?
How do I respond when I realize that Jesus died for my sins?
How can I be more open to God's grace so I can be "cut to the heart" by His mercy?
Spend some time thanking God for some of the biggest ways He's shown you mercy.
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
"I am cut to the heart by Your mercy."
"Thank You for Your mercy, Jesus."
"Jesus, what am I to do?"
For the rest of your day...
Let God's mercy "cut you to the heart" and fill you with joy today.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Dan Wolff.