“God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:32)

So how are you going to celebrate the Easter season? Here’s one way the church will do it: From now until Pentecost, we will be reading from the Book of Acts every day at Mass. That means that for the next fifty days, we will be following the first believers as they spread the news of the resurrection all the way to Rome. We will be reading story after story of how the Holy Spirit empowered these men and women to build the church—and how they themselves learned to submit to the Spirit’s wis­dom and guidance.

Through careful research, personal interviews, firsthand memories, stirring speeches, and occasional touches of humor, Luke explains how people like Peter, Paul, Philip, Barnabas, and many others spread the message of salvation in Christ. As a sequel to the Gospel that bears his name, Luke wrote the only book in the Bible that covers the crucial first decades of the early church. We learn about the way the first Christians lived in community, the way they prayed together, and the way they brought the gospel into the gentile world. We read about their love for each other, their arguments with each other, and the sacrifices they made for the sake of the church.

And so we begin today with Peter having to explain to a bewildered crowd why he and his friends were speaking in strange tongues about the marvels of God. No, they weren’t drunk. No, they weren’t insane. Rather, it was because Jesus of Nazareth, now risen from the dead, had filled them with the Holy Spirit, just as Scripture had promised (Acts 2:16-21,33).

Luke devotes all twenty-eight chapters of his book to telling the stories of ordinary men and women whose lives were transformed by the Holy Spirit. But did you know that these stories don’t end with Acts 28? God has been writing countless chapters ever since. These chapters include people like Benedict, Francis, Clare, Teresa of Avila, John XXIII, and Dorothy Day—as well as each and every one of us. God has marvelous plans for all of us this Easter season. So let’s all be open to his Spirit, and see where he will lead us.

“Holy Spirit, help me to hear your voice today. Send me out as you sent Peter and Paul to share your gospel!”

Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-11; Matthew 28:8-15