A Good Heart, an “Easter-ed Heart”

Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
April 20, 2023

Today’s Readings:


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the post-Resurrection Apostles continue their unstoppable testimony to Jesus Christ. Their persistence “infuriates” the Sanhedrin who fear the blood of Christ being called down upon them!

“We gave you strict orders did we not,
to stop teaching in that name.
Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching
and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,
“We must obey God rather than men. 
The God of our ancestors raised Jesus,
though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.
God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.
We are witnesses of these things,
as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Acts 5: 28-33

There is an interesting play in the words and concepts of this reading from Acts.

  • While the Sanhedrin are infuriated, or filled with the fire of denial and sin, the Apostles are inflamed with the unquenchable Fire of the Holy Spirit.
  • While the Sanhedrin fear the blood of Christ called down upon them, the disciples hearts are transformed by its power.

The contrast in their responses to God’s Word is stunning.

In our Gospel, John captures this contrast in a nutshell:

The one who comes from above is above all.
The one who is of the earth is earthly
and speaks of earthly things.

John 3:31

In other words, those transformed in the power of the Resurrection see the world with God’s eyes — “from above”. Those unconverted by that Power still see the world in godlessness.

Our Gospel calls us to be like the disciples not like the Sanhedrin.  It calls us to open our hearts:

  • to see the Truth Who is Jesus Christ
  • to believe that the Truth of his Resurrection lives in us
  • to become that Truth through the witness of our lives.

The Gospel calls us to live a whole-hearted faith which allows the Holy Spirit to be expressed in every aspect of our lives. Jesus does not ration the gift of the Spirit, nor should we:

Whoever does accept Christ’s testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit.

John 3:33-34

How do we live such a life of Christian witness? Do we have to shout the witness out loud with every action of our lives?  I don’t think so.

Brother David Steindl-Rast describes believers like this:

People who have faith in life are like swimmers who entrust themselves to a rushing river. They neither abandon themselves to its current nor try to resist it. Rather, they adjust their every movement to the watercourse, use it with purpose and skill, and enjoy the adventure.

And the great St. Teresa of Avila blesses believers with this prayer:

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

Poetry: Little Summer Poem Touching The Subject Of Faith by Mary Oliver

Every summer
I listen and look 
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear

anything, I can’t see anything — 
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green 
stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker — 
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk. 

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing — 
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves, 

the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet — 
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum. 

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear? 

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.

Music: A Good Heart – Marc Enfroy

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