Christ Our Light — Eternal Life
“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.
1 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.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8
R.(4) O God, let all the nations praise you! or: R. Alleluia.
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. R.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide. R.
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! 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.”
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.
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. Amen!