“Repent and be baptized every one of you...for the forgiveness of your sins
and you will received the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
My theology professor once referred to the above Scripture passage as, “The plank after the shipwreck.” Huh? Well, it refers to St Peter’s call to repentance and baptism at Pentecost. If you recall the last Palm Sunday or Easter Triduum, when we reflected on human weakness and the “scandal” of God’s sending his own Son to death, we cried out, “Crucify him,” as a way of admitting that we’ve sinned—just as they did. It’s a shipwreck, indeed.
Now, weeks into the Easter season, Peter’s call to repentance and baptism tells us that though we have sinned, we don’t have to “drown” in it. He wasn’t criticizing his listeners but offering of liberation from the burden of sin and guilt. That same offer is extended to you and I every single day.
God pulled us out of the water (through baptism) and embraced us again and again and again (in Confession). As comforting as this thought is, there’s something even greater in St. Peter’s words. Not only has God saved us individually but He has also saved us together and built us into a Church. In other words, He didn’t just leave us a plank to float on—He has built an entire ship! So God’s plan was never just to fish you out of sin and let you float until His return. He has brought you aboard the Church.
Like a ship in the ocean, we are on a voyage and our course has been set. This means we have crewmates, brothers and sisters, to encourage and support us. It means that God knows you’re worth bringing aboard. It also means we have a role to play in the ship’s mission. Take this reflection to heart as you pray this week. Reflect on God’s goodness in not only rescuing us but also giving us a role to play in His plan of salvation.
In God’s Time,