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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
1st Reading (Acts 12:24—13:5): 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.
Responsorial Psalm: 66
R/. O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.

May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide.

May the peoples praise you, o God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): Alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (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.”

“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me”

Fr. Julio César RAMOS González SDB (Mendoza, Argentina)

Today, Jesus cries out; He cries out just as someone who is speaking and it is clear everyone should listen. His raised voice addresses His saving mission, as He has come “to save the world” (Jn 12:47), not on His own but in the name of “the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak” (Jn 12:49).

It is not yet been a month since we were celebrating the Paschal Triduum: how very present was the Father in the final hour, the hour of the Cross! As His Holiness Saint John Paul II wrote, “Jesus, overwhelmed by his foreknowledge of the trial waiting for him, alone before God, invokes him with his usual and tender expression of trust: ‘Abbá, Father’”. The next hours clearly show the intimate dialogue of the Son with the Father: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34); “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Lk 23:46).

The importance of this work by the Father and His Messenger, well deserves the personal response of he who is listening. This response is to believe, that is, a profession of faith (cf. Jn 12:44); faith that gives us the light —by the same Jesus— so that we shall not remain in darkness. But, he who rejects all these gifts and manifestations, and does not listen to those words “has something to judge him: the word that I spoke” (Jn 12:48).

Therefore, to accept Jesus is to believe in, see and listen to the Father, not to be in darkness, to obey the command of eternal life. We certainly deserve Saint John of the Cross’- rebuke: “[The Father] spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word… Those who now desire to question God or receive some vision or revelation are guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him by not fixing their eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light that shines on every man. This true light shines on all, but if anyone closes his window he will deprive himself of eternal light” (Saint Ambrose)

  • “We need this light from on high if we are to respond in a way worthy of the vocation we have received. For the Church, to be missionary means to receive God’s light and then to reflect it” (Francis)

  • “In Jesus Christ, the whole of God's truth has been made manifest. ‘Full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14), he came as the ‘light of the world’ (Jn 8:12) (...). ‘Whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 2466)