Peter raised his voice and addressed the people. As they listened, the people “were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). They were troubled and shaken, moved to ask questions, and to take action. “What should we do?” they asked. Peter answered, giving them, as he is giving to us, a comprehensive plan for conversation and all Christian living.
- Repentance: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38). Turn from the living-death which demanded the crucifixion of Christ; turn from betrayal and viciousness; turn away from sin, the flesh, and the devil; let the dead bury the dead and come forward to life itself. Come to the river of life where the heavens open, and the Spirit comes down, and the Father speaks of a beloved Son in whom all are beloved. Turn to life and hope and love.
- Forgiveness: “Be baptized … so that your sins may be forgiven.” Water sanctified by the mere touch of Christ has the power to wash away sin, to release a human life from the sediment of guilt accumulated over days and years. Baptism is a new birth, the sacramental means by which babes in Christ emerge into the world. “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12). Addressing the newly baptized, St. Augustine says, “My sermon is for you, infants just born, little ones in Christ, new offspring of the Church, grace of the Father, fecundity of Mother [Church], a holy seed, a new colony of bees, flower of our honor and fruit of our labor, our joy and crown, all you who stand in the Lord” (Sermon 8, In Octave) Forgiveness is newness of life and a new beginning.
- The Holy Spirit: “Be baptized … and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and the Spirit teaches us how to pray, and the Spirit leads us into all truth. Life in the Spirit is the whole life of a Christian. By the Spirit, we are grafted into the Son, and through the Son, we know and approach the Father, crying “Abba.” In a word, we become partakers of the divine nature, and because the divine nature is inexhaustible, our own lives become a continual pilgrimage of growth and discovery.
Living in the Holy Spirit, our lives are continually open to Christ. He lives with us, remains with us, stays with us (Luke 24:28). He opens our eyes to behold him in consecrated bread and wine, and in all his redeeming work. He opens the Scriptures to us and reveals everything about himself. He warms our hearts and pierces them too. We turn to him, and he forgives us, we are made new in the Spirit as the newborn children of the Most High God.
We may ask, “How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things he has done me for me?” (Ps. 116:10) And we have an answer, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord” (Ps. 116:11). Repenting, we call upon the name of the Lord. Baptized in the name of the Lord, we receive the forgiveness of sins. In the Holy Spirit, we take the cup of salvation and the bread of heaven as our daily and sacramental nourishment.
Look It Up: Read Luke 24:29.
Think About It: He stays with you, is with you always.