A classmate in grade school once told me back in the early 90’s that she just couldn’t possibly imagine I was accepted in the Seminary and actually, a Priest in the making. Back then, I wasn’t quite sure how to react but I thought it was funny and loaded. In fact, when she attended sunday Mass in the Cathedral a couple of years ago, she was deeply struck by the sermon of a Priest who sounded familiar but whose accent was heavy. She happened to ask and was literally going to drop on her knees when she knew it was her crazy classmate who did nothing but made her cry. Ha! Virgilio became a Priest?
The second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles tells a similar scenario. Peter, the chosen leader of the group, compulsive and temperamental, known to saying crazy and weird things, preached a sermon that his listeners were cut to the heart. Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 38). Where did he get an absolutely stunning message that went straight to the heart of his audiences and pierced their souls? How did this fellow become so passionate about a Master, he denied but appeared to him a number of times after rising from the dead in span of more than 50 days? Any clue?
One thing is sure. Everything changed after Easter and they needed to do something about it. They wanted to make sure the message was resoundingly clear. Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 38). If you heard almost the same words sometime ago and you need help trying to figure it out? I tell you, you might have a similar experience with Peter and myself. Jesus may have appeared to you, too. Don’t just sit around and bury yourself with that thought. Do something. Amen.