Commentary on the Gospel of

Michael Kavan-Creighton University's School of Medicine


As I write today’s reflection, we are nearing the celebration of Easter. Our readings remind us at this time of year of the importance of repentance and the good that comes from accepting Jesus as our Messiah. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter heals a crippled man by invoking the name of Jesus. Understandably, the crowd is amazed and Peter takes the opportunity to remind the crowd that Jesus is the “Holy and Righteous One” as well as the “Author of Life.” He continues by stating that it is through repentance and our faith in Jesus as the Messiah that we are healed and given new life. Peter, John, and the crowds are true witnesses to our Lord’s blessings. In the second reading from Luke, Jesus appears before the disciples and proclaims that following his suffering and resurrection that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name, and that the disciples would once again be witnesses to this great news.
In both readings, we see the value of repentance. The opportunity to ask for forgiveness and for our sins to be wiped away – a “refreshment” according to Peter. I believe that it is in this act of repentance that we rid ourselves of past sins and open our hearts and souls to the words of God. As such, we gain the opportunity to truly witness God’s great works. And maybe, more importantly, not just witnessing, but becoming disciples of Christ who actually carry forward the Word of God through our words and actions. Now, we may not be able to cure a crippled man in the manner of Peter and John, but we can engage in small and not-so-small acts that demonstrate we are witnesses of the Good News – be it a simple act of opening a door for a stranger, to volunteering at a shelter, to advocating for those who are marginalized, to actually treating those who are sick through our work as healthcare professionals. We all have an opportunity to witness God and to act as Jesus taught us.

I recently listened to a homily by the Reverend Patrick Smith from St. Augustine Parish in Washington, DC. And he told the story of a man who was teaching at a university and was close to being appointed tenure when he resigned. A year later a former colleague bumped into him in a grocery store and asked what he was doing. He said he was praying and discerning and felt God wanted him to leave and to teach in an inner-city public school. The former colleague asked what it was like and he said he loved it. Then his former colleague asked the question that he really wanted to know – “So, what do you make?”  For which he responded – “I make a difference.” God wants us to make a difference. So, all us should take advantage of our opportunity to repent, to refresh, and to not only witness Jesus as the Messiah, but to become disciples in our own right by engaging in acts of goodness toward others. We should want to make a difference.


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