Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Second Moses: Acts 3 with poem by John Newton, I Knew Not What I Did

Daily Readings
Psalm 3 Genesis 3 Isaiah 4:2-5:10 Acts 3

Daily Text: Acts 3

A Second Moses
An extension of the power of God on Pentecost is the healing of the lame man in Acts 3 at the Gate Beautiful, more properly called the Nicanor Gate [549:83]. The healing is offered rather than the alms requested.

Cornelius a Lapide tells us how Thomas Aquinas called upon Pope Innocent II once when the latter was counting a large sum of money. “You see, Thomas,” said the Pope, “the Church can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none’.” “True, holy father,” said Thomas, “and neither can she now say, ‘Arise and walk’ [549:84].

This healing occurs in the Name of Jesus. Peter explains more completely to the people after he and John have been to their prayers. This same man in whose name the lame man is healed, is the Author of life, whom they and their leaders put to death!. Paradox for sure, but God did not allow it remain a paradox, he restores Jesus to life, and Peter claims, it is this man, the Author of life, who has brought the lame man to perfect health. I suspect, included in that ‘perfect health’ is a restored relationship with the Author of life, himself, restored by “the faith that is through Jesus”[Acts 3:16].

Peter is generous with the crowd for though he charges them with Jesus’ rejection, he allows that they rejected him in ignorance, not understanding that he was the prophet foretold by Moses, a veritable second Moses. Now, however, seeing this continuing power of Jesus through the healing, they are no longer ignorant, but knowledgeable of the significance of this man for Israel and for them. He cinches this with references to the suffering servant of Isaiah 52-53. He goes on to say that continuing in their ignorance will confirm that they will be rooted out of the people of God, but by repenting they can not only confirm their place among the people of God, but receive the blessings offered by God to his own.

I Knew Not What I DidJohn Newton

Alas! I knew not what I did,
But now m tears are vain;
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I my Lord have slain.

A second look He gave, which said:
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom shed;
I die, that thou mayest live.”

Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue;
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live through Him I killed.
549:91

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