The Book of the Acts of the Apostles—which we will hear at Mass throughout this Easter season—is so much more than a history of the early church. It’s a book about the power of the Holy Spirit. Throughout its pages, we read how the Holy Spirit worked through ordinary people to make them into bold apostles and witnesses to Christ. Because it speaks about so many lives being powerfully transformed, Acts also gives us hope and encouragement for our lives. What happened in the apostles can happen in us as well.
Today’s reading describes the first of many scenes in which the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to build up the Church. The passage also describes the first fulfilment of Our Lord’s prophecy before he ascended into heaven: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
In Jerusalem, Peter preached, and thousands came to believe. As we work our way through the Book of Acts, we will hear how Peter and other disciples, like Stephen, preached the Gospel in Jerusalem and the surrounding area of Judea. Then the focus will shift to Philip, who spread the Gospel even further when he proclaimed Christ in Samaria. Finally, we will witness Paul bringing the message and the power of salvation throughout Asia Minor, then into Greece, and lastly to Rome. And in every scene, we can see the Holy Spirit working powerfully through these messengers of God.
Stories like the ones recorded in the Acts of the Apostles continue to happen today through the preaching and witness of Christians. Each of us has received the Holy Spirit which gives us power to witness to Christ and to help spread the Gospel. And so, as the Easter season unfolds, let us ask Our Lord to fill us with his Spirit and to make us into his witnesses. Our Lord wants this and he will help and support each of us as we seek to do his will.