Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the miraculous healings presented in today’s first reading, Peter mirrors miracles that Jesus performed during his lifetime. Peter heals Aeneas, a paralyzed man, telling him to “get up and make your bed.” In Mark 2:1-12, a paralyzed man’s friends lower him through the roof and Jesus heals him and says “rise, pick up your mat and walk.” Peter then manages to top this miracle by raising a woman named Tabitha from the dead, just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
St. Ignatius talks about God’s invitation to each of us to be co-laborers in God’s vineyard. Peter certainly co-labored with Christ, both during Jesus’ earthly ministry and after his ascension, and did so in often dramatic ways. While most of us may not perform such extreme acts as part of our discipleship, we are still each called to work with Jesus in bringing the Good News to the people we encounter in our daily lives.
What is one act I can do to co-labor with God today?
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Good and gracious God, we know that as we labor in the vineyard of this world, we do not labor alone. We are your coworkers, and we work toward something that will bear good fruit in the world. Give us the strength to walk with you, and the courage to respond to your invitation to us each day. We ask this through our brother, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
—The Jesuit Prayer team