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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 11:19-26): Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
Responsorial Psalm: 86
R/. All you nations, praise the Lord.
His foundation upon the holy mountains the Lord loves: The gates of Zion, more than any dwelling of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, o city of God!

I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those who know the Lord; of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia: «This man was born there». And of Zion they shall say: «One and all were born in her; and he who has established her is the Most High Lord».

They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: «This man was born there». And all shall sing, in their festive dance: «My home is within you».
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 10,22-30): The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

«The Father and I are one»

Fr. Miquel MASATS i Roca (Girona, Spain)

Today, we see Jesus walking “about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon” (Jn 10:23), during the Feast of Dedication, in Jerusalem. It was then when the Jews ask him: “If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly”, and Jesus answers: “I told you and you do not believe” (Jn 10:24-25).

Only through Faith man is able to recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God. When The Holy Father John Paul II addressed the young people on occasion of the 15th World Youth Day at Tor Vergata, in the year 2000, he spoke about the “school of faith”. To the question “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Lk 9:18), there are many answers... But, then, Jesus becomes more personal: «But, who do you say that I am?». To correctly answer this question we need the “revelation of the Father”. To be able to answer like Simon Peter did —“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16)— it takes God's grace.

But, even though God wishes everybody to believe and be saved, only humble men are capacitated to receive the gift of grace. “But with the humble is wisdom”, can be read in the Book of Proverbs (11:2). Man's true wisdom consists of trusting God.

Saint Thomas Aquinas comments on this passage of the Gospel by saying: «I can see thanks to the sunlight, but if I close my eyes, I cannot see; but this is not the fault of the sun, but mine».

Jesus tells them to believe in him, if nothing else, because of his works that manifest God's power: “The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me” (Jn 10:25).

Jesus knows his sheep and his sheep hear his voice. Faith allows us to connect with Jesus through prayer. What else is a prayer but a way to communicate with Jesus Christ, who loves us and takes us to the Father? And the outcome and reward of this intimacy with Jesus in this life is eternal life, as we have read in the Gospel.