Peter and John were going up to the temple area
for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried
and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day
to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple,
he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John,
and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold,
but what I do have I give you:
in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up,
and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around,
and went into the temple with them,
walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one
who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple,
and they were filled with amazement and astonishment
at what had happened to him.
As we continue our Easter celebration, we have this wonderful reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The first thing we notice is that Peter and John were going to pray at three o’clock. This is the hour of mercy, the time in which Jesus offered Himself completely for us on the cross. This reminds me of the Liturgy of the Hours that we pray for the Church. We stop at different times during the day to pray and to sanctify the day. It is a reminder that everything comes from God and returns to God.
Along the way to the temple, Peter and John encounter a crippled man who was begging for alms. Peter’s response is striking, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” This story is similar to the Samaritan woman that Jesus meets at the well. She comes looking for water, but Jesus gives her Living Water. This man is looking for alms, but Peter gives him healing from the Lord of Lords.
So often we don’t ask for what we need. Or maybe we don’t even know what we need. At times we ask for something small and Jesus was to flood us with His grace. We ask for something that is earthly and Jesus wants to gives us heavenly blessings. Yes, we should ask for our daily bread and things of this earth that are necessary. However, we often lack faith to ask Jesus for the things that really matter.
My experience over the last 11 years as a priest is that Jesus is teaching me how to trust Him and to grow in faith. I have seen physical and spiritual miracles. People have been cured from illnesses that the doctors can’t explain. The Lord has brought about solutions to problems that seemed to have no answer. Each time He invites me to deeper prayer asking me, “Do you trust me know? Do you believe in me now?”
How do I approach Jesus in prayer?
Do I believe that He can perform miracles in my life?
Do I have faith in Jesus in the worst of circumstances?
The people were amazed when they saw this man who had been crippled now walking in the temple area. They saw and believed. But Jesus tells us, “Blessed are you who have not seen and yet believe.” The Lord invites us into a deeper relationship with Him today. This Easter season is a time to reflect on the miracle of the resurrection, the power of the Holy Spirit and the intimate love God has for each one of us.
Do I believe?
Ask the Lord for more faith. Ask Him to open your eyes to see Him more clearly. Ask Him to open the ears of your heart to hear His voice speaking to you. He invites us today to trust Him. What is my response?