1 Reading: Acts 2:36-41
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
Gospel: Jn 20:11-18
Did you know that an anchor is an ancient symbol of Christianity? It has been found among many catacomb inscriptions of the 1st century, adopting its secular importance to ancient navigation. Therefore, the familiar symbol was given a new and higher signification. To these early Christians it stood as a sign of hope and security not just in seafaring, but in life.
Jesus is alive! This is the gospel of Easter. We know and celebrate this, however, we tend to think of its abstract significance. But to Mary Magdalene and the other disciples Jesus’ resurrection held a very visceral and immediate importance. Their teacher, Savior, and close friend was not dead. Think of the hope, relief, and utter joy they must have felt! Jesus is indeed alive and through Him we are reborn as God’s children (Jn 3:5).
In the first reading, Peter makes an appearance, who only a few short reading and days ago denied knowing Jesus. Now we find him in full confidence in Jesus, and preaching the good news no less. And the Jewish people whom Peter is preaching to, ask him a very real question, “What are we to do?” (Acts 2:27b). How many times have we asked a similar question, in regards to our values, obligations, or faith? Peter answers them, “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Repentance – in Peter’s context – is a positive concept. The Greek word used is metanoia, meaning a transformation or change of heart. Baptism, for Peter, is not merely an intellectual or moral conversion, it is a spiritual one. To Luke, the author of Acts, and to Peter, Baptism is the appropriate response to this spiritual conversion. It is the only response after one accepts the teachings of Jesus. First comes the intellectual conversion – Jesus is God. Then the moral conversion – I should live as Jesus taught. Then spiritual conversion – I want to be close to Jesus. In our contemporary society we may be tempted to spend too much energy on the former two, but the latter-most – this spiritual conversion – is the message of the Gospels, the summit of Easter and Christianity, and our anchor when the ocean of life gets rough.