Before his Ascension, Jesus told the apostles that their response to the Good News of salvation should be to act as his faithful witnesses. He told them the Holy Spirit would give them power — not the power to rule an earthly kingdom, but the power to spread the word of a heavenly one. “You will be my witnesses,” he told them, “in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The power of the Holy Spirit would help win back the world for God the Father — the very reason Jesus Christ had come.
The power of the Holy Spirit that enabled the Gospel to spread from Jerusalem, through Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth now compels the Catholic Church in Detroit to share the Good News with individuals, families, parishes and all of southeast Michigan.
As we respond to the Good News, we can pray with those who first heard the Gospel and ask God to make our response to the mission as joyful and bold as theirs was.
Jerusalem: The crowds gather on Pentecost
An excerpt: (Peter said,) “Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, 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.”
Are my eyes and ears open to the signs and wonders that God is performing today? Do I pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the fire of God’s love? Am I willing to let myself be emptied of whatever is not of God so that I may be filled by God? Do I beg the Holy Spirit for new language and words to tell the Good News of what Jesus has done for me? Do I listen attentively about the “mighty acts of God” in the lives of others, or am I quick to dismiss their experiences as if they “have had too much new wine?” Does the Good News “cut to the heart” of me?
(In these or your own words)
Lord Jesus, Son of the Father, you gather us “all in one place together” as beloved sons and daughters. In the house of your Church, we are filled by your Holy Spirit. Enkindle in my heart a fire of love for other and help me to share the Good News “like a strong driving wind.” Amen.
Through Judea and Samaria: The people witness a healing
An excerpt: (Peter) found a man named Aeneas, who had been confined to bed for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” He got up at once. And all the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Am I building myself up as a joyful missionary disciple by walking daily in fear of the Lord? Do I allow Jesus, who is “passing through every region” of my life, to make me more holy? What sins, fears, doubts or distractions confine and paralyze me from walking more closely with Jesus? Where am I still in need of Jesus’ healing word and touch? What concrete, practical actions is God asking of me as part of the new life of forgiveness and healing I have received?
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, you give our Church and our hearts a peace the world cannot. Heal and raise up all that is still wounded and broken in our Church and our hearts. Help me to experience the healing you give so I may turn my life to you, the Lord. Amen.
To the ends of the earth: Lydia and her family are baptized
An excerpt: A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us.
How can I better make time and space for prayer throughout my day? Do I offer to pray with people I meet, especially when they mention specific intentions? Am I open to praying with them right then and there? Do I give my all to God in worship? Do I listen and pay attention to what God says in prayer, or do I fill the time only with my own words? Do I open my heart and home to the needs of others? Are there any areas of my life that Jesus is not invited into?
Lord Jesus, most worthy of worship and prayer, you call us to go out as your disciples to invite others into relationship with you. Help me to respond generously to your invitation to be in my life so that your goodness and your grace may prevail upon me. Amen.