Take a moment and look back over the last 10 weekdays (or so) and consider the first reading for daily Mass. (If you look at today’s readings, you can use the calendar feature to quickly located the previous readings of the day). The readings are from the Acts of the Apostles. The readings tells the story of the early Christian Church growing out from the fear behind the doors of the Upper Room moving out to the world with a divine mission. The salvation promised to Israel in the Old Testament and accomplished by Jesus is now under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and is extending to include the Gentiles. And it is motley cast of characters that are being send, divinely chosen representatives: “witnesses chosen by God in advance” (Acts 10:41).
Looking back over these readings from Acts of the Apostles, we meet Stephen, Philip, Saul (the one renamed Paul), Peter, Barnabas, Paul, John, and in today’s reading, a whole host of characters: “Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch.” (Acts 13:1). This is just a partial list of the women and men sent into the world to be the instrument of God’s grace, carrying the Spirit out to a waiting world – into your life.
Now there was an Ethiopian … who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. (Act 8:27 ff)
The Acts of the Apostles and all the days since are replete with such encounters. People walking into other people’s lives, sent by God, carrying the Spirit, … grace walking on two legs.
Take a moment and give thanks to the walking grace in your life. And know that at the end of Mass, in Latin, the words are Ita missa est. The translation is not “the Mass is end…” but rather, “Go, it is mission.” So, go be walking grace in the world.