Reflections

Wednesday in the 4th Week of Easter, April 28, 2021

CHRIST OUR LIGHT–ETERNAL LIFE
Introduction
“I came not to judge the world but to save the world,” says Jesus to us today. What he came to bring us is life, life without end, eternal life. He comes as light in our world. If we believe in him, we come to see in his light where we lack love that moves the world, where our sense of justice is only half-hearted. In his light, we learn to see how we can serve one another and become rich and mature as human beings. Then we too become small lights that bring a bit of light and warmth in our cold world.
 
Opening Prayer
Lord, our God,
through your Son, Jesus Christ
you assure us that he came
not to condemn us but to bring us life,
a life worth living,
a life that is rich and refreshing us and our world
with love and a spirit of service.
Let Jesus stay with us
as the light in which we see
all that is good and worth living for
and let us share in his life that has no end.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: Acts 12:24—13:5a
But the word of God continued to spread and grow. 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. They had John also as their assistant.
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8
R. O God, let all the nations praise you! Or: Alleluia!
 
May God be gracious to us and bless us;
may his face shine upon us.
So shall your way be known upon the earth,
your victory among all the nations. R.
 
May the nations be glad and rejoice;
for you judge the peoples with fairness,
you guide the nations upon the earth. R.
 
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us still;
that the ends of the earth may revere him. R.
 
Alleluia: John 8:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: John 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.”
 
Commentary
Transmitting the message. In today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms that to accept him is to accept the Father who sent him. In seeing Christ as the visible expression of God himself, faith in Christ embraces the message that God has sent into the world. Jesus comes as saviour, not as one who condemns.
Condemnation is self-inflicted when God’s word is rejected. The message is then communicated within the Christian community through a legitimate mandate. When, in Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas and Saul become bearers of the message, the sending community in Antioch imposes hands on them and sends them off. In the Christian tradition, the imposition of hands in the ordination rite authenticates the ordinands as legitimate carriers of the message. As Saul and Barnabas set off on their mission, they are one in spirit and teaching with the Antioch community.
We too are part of that Christian tradition, recipients of a patrimony two thousand years old. We want to recall gratefully those who have gifted us with the faith: parents, teachers, members of the clergy. The transmission of the faith has endured difficult moments. The way was not always smooth and welcoming.
Now, by the same token, the task is laid on our shoulders. We are to convey the message to others—first of all, as parents. The home is the first and primary school of Christian values. We may, in addition, be catechists or teachers in religious education. It is a serious and indispensable task. If our children are to become faith-filled adults, the great part of that responsibility rests with us. How often today we meet young adults with little or no appreciation of their faith. It is an inestimable loss.
Jesus was the first bearer of the message; the apostles were the second. We now play our own part in that great tradition.
 
Intercessions
That young churches may also be willing to send missionaries to people who do not yet enjoy the light of Christ, we pray:
That people who live with uncertainty and in the darkness of fear and suffering may see the light of Christ bring them relief and strength, we pray:
That all of us in this community may be at least pale reflections of the light of Christ, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Eternal Father,
we have not to wait for the end
of our pilgrimage on earth
to enjoy the happiness of eternal life.
As we will eat the body of Jesus
and drink his blood of strength,
make the life of Jesus grow in us
and blossom forth into eternal life.
Fulfill in us this promise
given us by Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
God, Father of all,
the zeal of your missionaries
won many people for the young Church.
May the Word proclaimed to us
never leave us indifferent,
but help us to grow in the knowledge
and even more in the love of your Son,
and of you, our living God
and Father, forever and ever. Amen!
 
Blessing
Blessed are we that we do not live in the dark. We may still have questions, we do not understand everything about our faith, but we know the person of Christ and we believe in him. May his light shine brightly on us, and may Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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