Back we go to the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 today. When the people heard about salvation through Christ Jesus, they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” More on that in a moment. In the Gospel reading today, we’re in John 20, reading about St. John’s post-resurrection encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. At first, she doesn’t recognize him, thinking that he is the gardener. But when Jesus called her by name, she recognized him. When Jesus calls you by name, do you recognize him?
In today’s reading from Acts, Peter speaks of the necessity of baptism. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Scripture goes on to tell us that Peter exhorted them further, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Interesting choice of words, isn’t it? After all, no one can save themselves, right? It is Jesus who does the saving. But this tells us very clearly that salvation is not a passive act in which we have no say.
In Catholic thinking, salvation is a process that begins at baptism. Look again at Peter’s description of the sacrament. Our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t end there. Peter’s plea to “save yourselves” speaks of a decision. And as Catholics, we believe it is not just a one-time decision, but decisions each and every day to follow Christ Jesus; to allow Him to save us. I believe that we, too, are living in a corrupt generation. Have you made the decision to “save yourself” from it today?
Father, we thank you for the gift of our baptism. Help us today to make good decisions; to decide to do your will and follow Christ in all that we do and say. Amen.