Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

In the very first part of the Acts of the Apostles, which is the history of the early church, St. Luke records Jesus’ telling his disciples when he was about to leave them for good. He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth.” In today’s first lesson, we heard how that began to happen.

After that persecution in Jerusalem where among others, Stephen was martyred, the first of the disciples to be put to death for Jesus, the people scattered, and then we hear how what Jesus said to the disciples is happening. Philip, one of those who were part of the community in Jerusalem, headed to Samaria and began to proclaim the Gospel there, and got extraordinary response because he proclaimed it with such power and with such joy and hope. People were attracted to the message of Jesus, and they began to follow in great numbers.

But now as we reflect on that, we also remember that Jesus says, “It will not just be in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, but to the ends of the earth that the Gospel is to be proclaimed — proclaimed with joy, with hope, with love,” and that brings it to us this morning. We’re the ones now who are to proclaim this good news — the good news about Jesus — that the son of God came into our midst, became one of us so that we may become bearers of God’s light, sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus. Good news: “Death is overcome! Death is destroyed,” as Paul says, “because Jesus had gone through death to new life.”…

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