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JESUS’ WORDS WILL BE OUR JUDGE

Father Francis's picture
Fourth Week of Easter

Acts. 12:24-13:5 & Jn. 12:44-50

According to Saint John the words of today's Gospel were the very last of Jesus' public ministry. From then He will concentrate on teaching His Apostles.

John tells us that Jesus 'cried out' these words. The cry reflects a passionate and heartfelt desire for people to believe Him. He has performed many signs. He has demonstrated His love and brought the good news to the people. He has taught them at great length. But on the whole, despite all this, they have not believed.

So should we see Jesus' public ministry as a failure? Far from it! This is not a failure but part of God's eternal plan. The rejection of God's Servant was foretold by the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus rounds off His public teaching very constructively. He asks for belief not just in Him but in the Father who sent Him. This is a frequent theme in John's Gospel. Jesus does only what the Father tells Him, and He reveals the Father so perfectly that to see Him is to see the Father. This is why He goes on to say that He is the light of the world. In Him the whole of God's truth is made manifest, so that whoever believes in Him may not walk in darkness.

As the light of the world, Jesus causes His light to penetrate every corner of our lives. This is a profound challenge to us. Do we believe in Jesus, and let the light of the world into our lives? lf we have faith in Him we come to know the Father. If we refuse to believe we exclude ourselves from sharing in the fullness of life that He offers. What we must realise is that it is never a case of Christ excluding us.

Jesus does not wish to condemn anyone; His constant and only concern is to save us. His words here echo those already written by John, "For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." So it is not Jesus who condemns: He has spoken and we have heard His words - and either we accept or reject them. They will be our judge on the last day.

So it is vital for us to grasp the fact that Jesus will never reject us. Whatever we have done in the past, whatever sort of persons we are, He wants us to find salvation, or as Jesus puts it, “we need not stay in the dark anymore.” We can at times feel that we are far away from Him, that the darkness can overwhelm us, but Jesus is always there for us, always waiting to receive us and longing for us to turn to Him again. If we do, if we choose light rather than darkness, He will lead us into eternal life.

The Church has a mission to proclaim the truth. In the first reading we see how Saul and Barnabas preached the word of God to the Jews in the synagogue. From that moment, no longer could those Jews plead ignorance of the truth. Now it was up to them to respond to what they had heard.

That mission which the Holy Spirit gave to Saul and Barnabas is also our mission. Are we aware that the Holy Spirit is now working through us, prompting us to use every opportunity to proclaim the truth? We find those opportunities every day, in our work-place and in our social life.

Lord Jesus we thank you for teaching us the truth. Make us always conscious of our responsibility to act on that truth, and to share it with others throughout our lives, by what we say and how we behave.

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