go backward to go forward
"They got up immediately and returned to Jerusalem." —Luke 24:33
Acts of the Apostles was written over forty years after Jesus' resurrection. By that time, some of the second generation Christians had lost their first love for the Lord (see Rv 2:4). Acts was written to stir again into flame the gift of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tm 1:6-7).
Acts teaches that the way to be renewed is to go back and pick up where you've left off. Jeremiah prophesied: "Stand beside the earliest roads, ask the pathways of old" (Jer 6:16). Hosea prophesied that we must go back into the desert and respond to the Lord "there as in the days" of our youth (Hos 2:16-17; see also Jer 2:2). We must return to our first love and our former deeds (Rv 2:4-5).
We may even need to go back to "square one" — to "the three o'clock hour" when Jesus died on the cross for us (see Acts 3:1) and to the time of Jesus' resurrection, whether it was forty or nearly two thousand years ago. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we must turn around and go back to Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was crucified (Lk 24:33). We must go back seven miles (see Lk 24:13) or thousands of miles, if necessary. We must go back to the Church, the Bible (Lk 24:27, 32), and the Eucharist (Lk 24:30-31). If we have stalled in our Christian life, we must go all the way back if we are to go all the way forward as witnesses for the risen Christ.
Prayer: Father, if necessary, put me "back in the shop" so I can soon get out on the road.
Promise: "Immediately the beggar's feet and ankles became strong; he jumped up, stood for a moment, then began to walk around. He went into the temple with them — walking, jumping about, and praising God." —Acts 3:7-8
Praise: Alleluia! "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118:24).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996