First Reading: Acts 1:12-14


How patient are you when you have to wait?

Popular Translation

12 The Eleven returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives nearby. The distance of the walk was the length of a journey the Jewish Law allowed on the Sabbath. 13 When the entered Jerusalem, they went up into the second story room where they stayed. There was Peter, John, Andrew, and James, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alpheus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas, son of James. 14 All these men were united in prayer, along with the women who followed Jesus and the family of Jesus: his mother Mary and his brothers.

Literal Translation

12 Then (the Apostles) returned to Jerusalem from the mount called "of Olives" which is near Jerusalem, being a way (in length) of (the) Sabbath. 13 When they entered (the city), they went into the upper room where they were staying: Peter and John and James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James (son) of Alpheus and Simon the Zealot and Judas (son) of James. 14 All these were attending constantly in prayer with one mind, (together) with the women and Mary, mother of JESUS, and HIS brothers.

1:12 "being a way (in length) of (the) Sabbath" is a measure of the distance one could walk and not violate the Sabbath.

1:13 The Eleven were listed. Tradition gives different groupings different emphases, but the first four were the two sets of brother and the first to be called: Peter and Andrew, John and James. Notice Luke rearranged the list in a hierarchy of importance; so, John replaced Andrew in the second position.

These few verses from Acts answer the questions of "Who?" and "What?" Who was present after Jesus ascended into heaven? What were they doing? What were they waiting for? These answers were transitional in nature, for this was the waiting time between the Ascension and Pentecost.

Luke listed the Eleven (beginning with the leadership within the group), the unnamed group of women who followed Jesus, and, lastly, the family of Jesus. (It is interesting to note that Luke tried to counterbalance the view of Jesus' family found in Mark's gospel. The mother and family of Jesus in Mark 3:31-35 tried to perform an intervention: take Jesus home and isolate/restore him in private. Thus, they would be spared the possible social embarrassment mentioned in Mark 3:30. But Luke listed the mother and family of Jesus as believers.) All were together in prayer. The force of Greek meant more than sharing prayer. They prayed the same prayer. They anticipated gift and presence of the Spirit. The third person of the Trinity would mark the realization of the end times.

Who? The Apostles, the women, the family of Jesus. What? In prayer, waiting for the Spirit. If we apply those questions to present times, we would join those in heaven and on earth who wait and earnestly pray for the gift of the Spirit.

As Christians, we enjoy the gift of the Spirit. As we wait for the celebration of Pentecost, let us pray to the Spirit for direction and strength on our Christian walk.

What direction will you pray for this week? Where can your life use direction? Who (besides God) can guide you?