4th Week of Easter, Wednesday, April 28
Acts 12:24 - 13:5 / John 12:14-50
Jesus talks about his mission; "1 came into the world as light. "
A group of Chinese Christian clergymen invited an American professor of Scripture to give them a workshop on the Bible. In the course of the workshop the professor asked the clergymen to pick out the episode in the Gospel that impressed them most.To his surprise, they did not choose the Sermon on the Mount, the crucifixion of Jesus, or the resurrection of Jesus. They chose Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet. The choice of the Chinese clergymen fits in perfectly with what Jesus says in today's gospel about his mission: He came into the world to be its light. In other words, he came into the world to serve.
How well do we imitate Jesus' life of service? "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve." Mark 10:45
The young man John Mark, whom Barnabas and Saul brought to Antioch from Jerusalem, was the Evangelist who Wrote the second Gospel. He happened to be a cousin of Barnabas. In Jerusalem they heard the momentous news that "God had granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles also" (verses 11-18). They immediately thought of the consequences of this policy. Antioch had enough men, there were prophets and teachers there (verse 13.1). They decided to start a mission. The Holy Spirit inspired them to choose Barnabas and Saul, who from this chapter onwards will be called Paul. They took Mark along. The Church of Antioch solemnly sent them out. Mark's teaching on the life of Jesus was to become the second Gospel. First they went to Cyprus, the home of Barnabas, the first Mission in the history of the world. The next 2000 years witnessed the heroism and courage of these men, who left their home for the unknown to bring people home to God: Fetching a world home to God. That is what mission is.
“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.
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