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The Book of Acts and the Power of the Holy Spirit

Updated on April 6, 2021

Enrich your soul in the great goodness of God: The Father is your table, the Son is your food, and the Holy Spirit waits on you and then makes His dwelling in you.” ~ Saint Catherine of Siena

In today’s Gospel (John 20:11-18), we encounter a crestfallen Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb of Jesus who, albeit unbeknownst to her, has risen from the dead. She then sees Jesus but doesn’t immediately recognize him.

Bishop Barron, as he so often does in his Daily Gospel Reflections, astutely notices what might have otherwise seemed to be an innocuous detail. He points out that Mary Magdalene mistakenly thinks that Jesus is the gardener. ”In the book of Genesis,” Bishop Barron explains, “God, the gardener of Eden, walked with his creatures in easy friendship. Sin, the sundering of the loop of grace, put an end to those intimate associations. Throughout the history of salvation, God had been trying to reestablish friendship.” He goes on to conclude that “Through the death of Jesus, through that tomb placed right in the garden, he accomplished his goal. In Christ, he appears again as a gardener.”

Over the next few days, our readings will continue to revisit the encounters that a number of the more iconic Biblical figures had with the Resurrected Jesus. On the heels of Mary Magdalene’s story today, Peter, the Emmaus disciples, Thomas and a few of the other Apostles will follow. Jesus’ message will continue to build off of this maiden post-resurrection encounter with Mary Magdalene:

Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father, Jesus tells her, “but go to my brothers.” This too is our vocation, to go forth and evangelize.

In the days ahead, the Book of Acts will provide us with our Spiritual fuel as we make our way through the Easter Octave and beyond. Far more than merely a history book detailing the early formation of the Church, the Acts of the Apostles brings into focus the power of the Holy Spirit breathing it’s gifts of wisdom, fortitude and understanding ~ to name but 3 of the 7 of these coveted gifts ~ into the very souls of regular people, transforming them into vibrant witnesses. Just as God wields his power by way of the Sacraments, so too does he transform us through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Be on the lookout for these stories and be prepared to focus and reflect upon them through the lens of this mysterious and divine presence in our lives. As Saint Peter Damien once said, “As the soul is the life of the body, so the Holy Spirit is the life of our souls.

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.“


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