March 26 — Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Readings: Acts 3:1-10; Lk 24:13-35
"In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk." Acts 3:6
The wonders of God continue still in today's reading from Acts. A lame beggar is healed through the power of the name of Jesus, the Risen Lord. Picture yourself in the scene. You are going to the temple to worship at the three o'clock hour, the afternoon hour of sacrifice. A crowd has gathered. You hear Peter's powerful words to someone you can't see, "... in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise up and walk." Suddenly, you see the very man who used to sit and beg at this gate of the temple now "walking and jumping and praising God" (v. 9).
What would your reaction have been? Luke tells us that the people who witnessed this miracle "were filled with amazement and astonishment" (v. 10). The Scripture scholar Fr. Jerome Crowe, CP, writes, "The cure of the lame man is the first of the wonders and signs done through the apostles. The miracle is symbolic of the salvation offered to those who 'call upon the name' of Jesus. It emphasizes once again the continuity of the era of the Church with that of Jesus; Peter's activity parallels that of Jesus (Lk 7:22) and will be paralleled by a cure of Paul (Acts 14:8-10).
Divine Mercy devotees will also notice a fascinating detail. This first miracle of the apostles occurs when Peter and John go to the temple at the three o'clock hour, the afternoon hour of sacrifice. This is the very hour of Jesus' Sacrifice to the Father on the Cross!
Praying at the hour of Christ's death is an aspect of the Divine Mercy message and devotion. It is called the Hour of Great Mercy. The Divine Mercy Chaplet, among other prayers, is recited at this hour around the world by thousands of the faithful.
Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, I stand amazed at the power of Your name to heal and save. Remind me to call upon Your name whenever I am in need. Alleluia! Amen.