You shall perform even greater works.
It is amazing to consider the power of St. Peter and the apostles after Pentecost in the 1st Reading from Last Sunday’s Mass. As Jesus did during His public ministry, the apostles heal countless numbers of people after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. While people had to touch the tassels of Jesus’ cloak to be healed (see Mark 6:56), this passage from the Acts of the Apostles seems to suggest that people received healing from Peter’s Shadow (see Acts 5:15). The passage doesn’t explicitly tell a story of Peter’s shadow healing anyone, but it does say that a large number of people were cured by the apostles that day (see Acts 5:16). And this all makes sense because Jesus Himself told us that we would perform the same works that he performed and even greater works than these (see John 14:12)! We, the imperfect human beings who were the reason that God died on the Cross, will perform greater miracles than the ones He performed in His own lifetime.
This is astonishing to say the least, and actually seems quite irrelevant since we do not seem to be doing greater works than Jesus in our lifetime. Most of the time the greatest work we perform in the day is doing all the work we set out to do at the beginning of the day, and we don’t feel very great after that - in fact, we feel tired, annoyed, and wanting to do anything but pray. If you’re anything like me, I usually end up watching my favorite TV show at the end of the day and being a general couch potato for the few hours I have left in my day before going to bed. But, St. Peter and the apostles remind us of the call we have to evangelize the rest of the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. They remind us that we can indeed do great works. But, it seems to be too good to be true, and it seems ridiculous and prideful to believe that we will do great works like all the saints before us. However, it was this brash confidence and deep trust in the Lord’s promises that made all the saints great! All we have to do is ask Jesus Christ, and it shall be done. This is not the message that I preach but the message that Jesus Himself preached to us. Here is what Jesus says verbatim to His apostles at the Last Supper in John’s Gospel: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14: 12-14).
Jesus tells us that He will answer whatever prayer we say in His name. So, the real question for us is not whether God hears our prayers or answers them but whether we are humble enough to ask God for His help and to trust that He will answer the prayer according to His Will, which is Love and Mercy itself. So then, how shall we use this gift of prayer to heal our neighbors and the world around us? Will we accept the great gifts that the Lord gives us in order to care for our families, our friends, and our world? That is a question that each individual must ask for themselves. But, until we believe that we shall indeed be great saints like St. Peter in the name of Christ, we shall not do these great works. Believe in Him, trust in Him, and you shall become the saint He has called you to be - one who performs great works in everything you do whether or not the works are visible to the human eye. May God bless you in your endeavor towards holiness in this joyful time of Easter.
Here's the 1st Reading from Last Sunday - Acts 5:12-16
Many signs and wonders were done among the people
at the hands of the apostles.
They were all together in Solomon’s portico.
None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them.
Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord,
great numbers of men and women, were added to them.
Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets
and laid them on cots and mats
so that when Peter came by,
at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.
A large number of people from the towns
in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered,
bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits,
and they were all cured.
This 26th day of April - Year of our Lord 2022
Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel