A reading from the Acts of the Apostles Acts 12:24—13:5a The word of God continued to spread and grow. After Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they...

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A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
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.

From the Gospel according to John
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.”

This passage from the Gospel of John (cf. 12:44-50) shows us the intimacy there was between Jesus and the Father. Jesus did what the Father told Him to do. And therefore He says: “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me” (v. 44). He then explains His mission: “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (v. 46). (…) It is Jesus’s mission: to bring light. And the mission of the Apostles was to bring the light of Jesus. To enlighten. Because the world was in darkness.

But the tragedy of Jesus’s light is that it was rejected. From the beginning of the Gospel, John said it clearly: “He came to His own home, and His own people did not welcome Him. They loved darkness more than light’ (cf. Jn 1:9-11). Being accustomed to darkness, living in darkness: they did not know how to accept the light, they could not; they were slaves to darkness. And this would be Jesus’s continuous battle: to enlighten, to bring the light that shows things as they are, as they exist; it shows freedom, it shows truth, it shows the path on which to go with the light of Jesus. (…)

Jesus Himself, the light, says: “Take courage: let yourself be enlightened; let yourself see what you have within, because I have come to lead you forth, to save you. I do not condemn you. I save you” (cf. v. 47). The Lord saves us from the darkness we have within, from the darkness of daily life, of social life, of political life, of national, international life… There is so much darkness within. And the Lord saves us. But He asks us to see them, first; to have the courage to see our darkness so that the Lord’s light may enter and save us. (Santa Marta, 6 May 2020)