Acts 12:24-13:5; Ps 67:2-3,5, 6,8; Jn 12:44-50
Nations are glad and exult when they fear the LORD; all peoples are glad and exult when they accept in humility the guidance of the LORD. The Word of the Lord continued to spread and increase. This guiding word summons all that are in darkness to the light of faith in Christ. It is the voice of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, who sent out apostles to spread and increase the word of the Lord. It is the voice of the Lord, Jesus Christ, who proclaimed throughout Saint John’s gospel whatever the Father commanded him to speak. We, too, hear that voice in the Spirit and through the words of the Lord Jesus summoning us to intimacy and sending us to evangelize. So that all the people might praise the LORD, we are here and we go from here.
It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that the church in Antioch sent out missionaries “to do the work for which I have called them.” Such joyous obedience to the call of the Lord was not an exceptional response. Indeed, the church gathered in the liturgy of the Lord and in fasting heard and responded immediately to the word of the Lord. These early believers were so confident in the presence of the Holy Spirit in their worship and in their hearts that they had little doubt to cause hesitation. Notice they were not given a specific map or program for their evangelistic efforts. This trust in the Holy Spirit was present among those who send and among those being sent. Out of respect for their origins these missionaries of the Word began preaching in the synagogues. From this home base they bravely moved beyond all boundaries; no comfort zones kept them limited.
The Lord Jesus, too, proclaimed for the entire world to hear. He was commanded what to say so that all who believed in his word would come to live in the light. The One who commanded him was The One who sent him. Those who came to put faith in the Lord Jesus really put their faith in the Father, who sent him. Those who came to see the Lord Jesus as the Sent One came to see The Father. This intimacy between the Father and the Son means that anyone who accepts his word and keeps it will be saved. Such intimacy in God reveals the true nature of our destiny in faith. We, too, are to become so completely one with the Sent One that we share the eternal life of The One who Sent him into the world. In the Holy Spirit we both listen attentively and respond wholeheartedly to the Father and the Son. Such a response means living with the same self-sacrificing love with which the Lord Jesus lived. We can no longer be comfortably Catholic. To be Catholic will be most disconcerting; because it will make demands on us to live and love the way the Lord Jesus lived and loved. Such a generous life-style will provoke criticism and envy. Such a sacrificial life-style will be misunderstood and ridiculed. The only way to be Catholic is to become what you eat, the Body and Blood of Christ. When this begins to have more attraction for us than anything else, then we will begin to change the world. We will begin to change the world near us. These people will also begin to change their world and those in it. Soon, and very soon, all the nations on earth will be glad and exult.