4TH WEEK OF EASTER
1st Reading: Acts 12:24—13:5a
The word of God continued to spread and grow. After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem, taking with them John, who is called Mark. Now there were in the Church at Antioch prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who was a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off. So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived in Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.
Gospel: Jn 12:44-50
Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”
I CAME INTO THE WORLD AS LIGHT: The Gospel of John is full of contrasting symbols: light and darkness, life and death, spirit and flesh, truth and darkness, grace and sin, fullness and emptiness, salvation and condemnation. Already in the Prologue (Jn 1:1-18), John introduces these themes. The important message of John is that when we know Jesus and believe in Him as the Son of God – and to believe is to have a personal experience – then we will have light, life, spirit, truth, grace, fullness, and salvation. The Eastertide promises us that it is possible to have these positive experiences because Jesus died and rose again. When we die to ourselves and rise with him, we will have light, life, spirit, truth, grace, fullness, and salvation.
Prayer: Lord, I believe in your saving grace!
YOUR WORD, NOT MY WORD: Jesus constantly kept throughout his life one sole principle of discernment, that was doing his Father will always: “My food is to do the will of the One who sent me and to carry out his work” (Jn 4:34). The life and mission of Jesus was motivated by this principle. The earthly life of the Jesus commences in the womb of Mary through an act of obedience to the Word: “Let be done to me according to your words” (Lk 1:38). He remained faithful to it throughout his life, even when at the end it meant sorrow and death in the cross: “Abba, take this cup away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want” (Mk 14:36). Hence, he did not announce his own ideas; rather, the words that the listened from the Father.
CHALLENGED TO BELIEVE: “The messenger is never killed” goes a Swahili saying. Most people welcome and want to hear good news but easily turn their anger to the deliverer of the information especially when the message does not suit their expectations. During a teachers’ strike, anger is turned to the Minister of Education, while in an election, the Electoral Commissioner faces the wrath of the losers. Both the Minister of Education and the Electoral Commissioner, are only but carriers of the news, delivering only what has been decide. Jesus is the Herald of the Good News and the Good News; do we accept him? During and after courtship, suitors exchange gifts to symbolize the love they have for each other. Rejecting a gift, is to reject the union between the two. God so loved us that he sent us his only begotten Son; a unique gift to us. Saying “yes” to Christ’s redemptive act is saying “yes” to God’s gracious gift of salvation. Do we reject or accept it?