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During the fifty days of the Easter Season, the First Reading at Mass is always from the Acts of the Apostles. What reason could there be for the liturgy to concentrate so much on this book during this season?

There is a significant link: the joyful proclamation of Easter by the first disciples is found at the very origin of the Christian communities. And St. Luke the Evangelist narrates this intimate relationship in the Acts of the Apostles.

Therefore, this book is not a mere historical report, but a selection of events born of Easter and reflected theologically under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on the life of the early church. The author presents it in three stages, according to the memorable words of Jesus to the disciples: "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).

That is why the mission unfolds first in Jerusalem (chapters 1-6). From there it spreads to the rest of Judea and Samaria (6-12). Finally, the message reaches out to the ends of the earth (13-28).

St. Luke focuses primarily on the ministries of Peter and Paul, although he also highlights, among others, the bold testimony of Stephen the Protomartyr; the dialogue of Philip with the Ethiopian official; and the works of James, John, and Barnabas. All this is accompanied by feats that remind us of the words and deeds of Jesus in the Gospels. The book of Acts stands out in the New Testament not only for its theological content but also for its literary quality, comparable to other classical works of Greek-Hellenistic culture.

Every Eucharist celebrates the Lord's Resurrection and its effect on the Church and the world. But this reality stands out during the Easter season. This is why the reading from the book of Acts is so appropriate for this time since it illustrates the life of the church with its daily problems, its lights and shadows: the joy of the Easter faith shared amid multiple difficulties, the witness of its members, the persecutions.

Luke, companion of the Apostle Paul, does not silence the tensions within the church. The pretension of some to impose the law of Moses led to the first council in Jerusalem. Let us also remember the first attempts to commercialize the faith (the case of Simon the sorcerer) or the attempts to deceive its members (the fraud of Ananias and Sapphira).

St. Luke dedicates this extraordinary inspired work, as well as his Gospel, to Theophilus, in Greek "Theo-filus, friend of God." Theophilus represents every Christian who seeks to deepen his or her faith and grow in friendship with God. Luke guides us on the difficult path of witnessing to our faith in word and deed. To this end, he identifies with the joys and hopes of the church of his time so that we may be ever more alert to the problems and conflicts, both within the church itself and externally.

His story leads us to live everything in the name of Jesus, the Risen Christ, the Lord, who continually gathers his people in unity with the renewed outpouring of his Spirit. It is a great reading for this Easter season!

Comments from readers

Elizabeth Calero - 05/06/2024 03:27 PM
Excellent,thank you. This is my second favorite book. I will read it again. God bless you

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