“12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and told that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are mad.” But she insisted that it was so. They said, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.”
Peter is in and out of jail again in this chapter. But unlike in ACTS 4, he has escaped prison with the help of an “angel of the Lord.” 12: 6-11. In verses 12-16, we see a little much needed levity in the story. In fact, I looked for some guidance in my reflection of ACTS 12, and Father Mark was quick to point these verses out saying, “I want people to have some fun over Easter. I want them to enjoy their lamb and eat too many chocolates.”
So, a comedy of errors has occurred. Peter, now a highly sought-after fugitive, returns to what is probably, the HQ of the Christian Movement. Rhoda, a young servant girl, hears his voice, recognizes him, but is either too excited or too afraid to open the door for him. Instead, she runs to tell the others, who are, at that very moment praying. Instead of running to the door themselves, they dismiss her; they call her crazy, but all the while, our fugitive Peter is left there, still knocking while looking over his shoulder for soldiers. Finally, and only after hearing it themselves, do they open the door and finding Peter there. “And they were amazed.” 12:16
I identify with Rhoda. I can remember as a child, sometimes being dismissed by adults only for them to later find out that what I was desperately trying to tell them had validity. I identify with the disciples. How many times in my life have I had to be hit over the head with a Spiritual message before I’ve finally accepted it and acted on it- even while I was actively praying for it?
While I do see the humor here, I also see a clearer message. Pay close attention to messages, even if they are delivered by someone that I don’t see as a “teacher,” or even as an “intellectual equal.” We are strong together in the Holy Spirit when we humbly access it. Second, if St. Peter is knocking at the door, even during social distancing orders, let him in, as long as he is wearing a mask and gloves!
Tara Lightner, EfM Year 1