Maria Kozakiewicz


Third Sunday of Easter – April 19, 2015
Acts 3.13-15, 17-19 | Psalm 4 | 1 John 2.1-5 | Luke 24.35-48
April 6, 2015
At the Temple gate, Peter addressed the people. – Acts 3.12

'At the Temple gate, Peter addressed the people.'

Acts 3.12

Peter is talking to a crowd, among which no doubt are those who had demanded that Jesus die. He is a witness to the death and resurrection of Christ. The people he is addressing can kill him or believe him.

As he faces his inability to stay silent about the Saviour, and overcomes the natural fear of those who had already murdered once, he himself grows in faith to become the rock.

It is not an easy role, that of a witness and yet there is no spiritual growth – neither individual nor communal – without witnesses. The Church which lacks witnesses dwindles and dies.

Yesterday I ran into a friend who was waiting for confession. He probably did not even think about it, but he was a witness of God's mercy for his 20-year-old daughter, who stood nearby, hesitant whether to enter the confessional. With a father who seeks reconciliation, she will – if not today, then tomorrow.

My brother-in-law never has a meal without praying first. Since he and his wife's culinary creations are famous in the family, and they are fantastic hosts, many half-believers are regularly reminded of God's bounty and our gratitude for it.

I am especially in awe of those witnesses who keep their faith in Jesus despite serious obstacles.

Someone married to a fighting atheist or a member of a religion at odds with Christianity attends Mass at the cost of ridicule and accusations that the family Sunday rest is being ruined. A guilt trip is a part of their lives.

A divorced-remarried Catholic parent who, although he or she cannot receive Holy Communion, brings their children to Sunday Mass has my deepest respect.

How difficult it is to sit in pews when the whole congregation orderly marches up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Even then, or especially then, you are a powerful witness of faith – and Jesus is rejoicing seeing you.

An alcoholic, a person struggling with a drug addiction or addiction to pornography, someone who finds it hard to deal with outbursts of anger – all can be God's witnesses and grow in faith too – if only they keep coming to the source of all healing, the Mass and this place of wonders, the confessional.

Becoming God's witness always comes at a price. It may be that condescending look from a learned colleague who has just noticed the crucifix on your neck and asked if you are a Catholic. You are, you admit.

A moment of hesitation follows, then a hopeful, "but not practising, are you?"

It seems that among the intellectual elite it is okay to be a fallen-away Catholic, but a sign of absolute backwardness and mental atrophy to be a practising one. "So narrow minded, you know."

Yet, there is no greater honour and joy than to be a witness to Christ. Be one and enjoy it.