“What is our faith like? Is it strong? Or is it at times a little like rosewater, a somewhat diluted faith? When problems arise are we brave like Peter or inclined to be lukewarm? Peter teaches us that faith is not negotiable. We must get the better of the temptation to behave more or less ‘like everyone else.’ When we begin to cut faith down, to negotiate faith and more or less to sell it to the one who makes the best offer, we are setting out on the road of apostasy, of no fidelity to the Lord.” —Pope Francis
The journey of Lent is over. The journey of Easter has just begun. As we spend fifty days with the early Church, we have much to learn. The readings from the Acts of the Apostles are both inspiring and daunting. Questioned again and again by the religious authorities, Peter and John are steadfast in their conviction: “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” For many of us, the problem is that the Good News doesn’t always seem fresh and new. We’ve become too familiar with it. We hear the Word on Sunday, but we don’t take time to reflect on what it means here and now. The stories from Acts refresh our awareness of what it must have been like to be that close to the earthly ministry of Jesus and his first apostles. But they also call to mind our own introduction to or embrace of that same faith. Pope Francis reminds us that the temptation is strong to keep quiet about our beliefs, to blend in with the people around us. Whether through temperament, culture, or fear, we can be inclined to keep religion as a private matter. But when we do that, we start to lose hold of what we do believe. In a world where we’re never challenged, it’s easy to forget. This isn’t to say we should go out looking for a fight, but as we look ahead to Pentecost, we might ask for just a bit more of the Spirit’s fire in our life.
— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis,
by Diane M. Houdek