Scripture: Lectionary 281: Acts 12:24-13:5. Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6,8. John
Biblical names are fascinating and even moreso they are important. We have
five ministers of the word of God listed in the Acts in today’s readings.
For three of them we will have more information; two will not be mentioned
again. Paul and Barnabas are highlighed; John Mark the relative of
Barnabas may be the writer of the first Gospel– that according to Mark;
Symeon and Lucius will not be heard of again. These five are set aside to
proclaim the Good News about Jesus to all peoples. Luke both in his Gospel
and in the Acts continues his theme of universal salvation through Jesus
Christ. He includes all peoples and is not as strong as Matthew on just
naming the chosen ones of God for hearing the news about Jesus. Even
Matthew comes around at the end of his Gospel to open up the Good News to
the Gentiles ( Matthew 28:16-20).
Psalm 67 is a psalm that includes all nations and is a prayerful way of
understanding what Luke is saying in the Acts of the Apostles about the
sending out of the five ministers of the word. This Psalm enables us to
pray the passage of Acts and to reflect on how magnanimous is the action of
God through his Son Jesus and through the apostles and ministers of the
word of God. The Psalm hints at the greatest blessing prayer in the Old
Testament: “The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine
upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.” (Numbers 6: 22-27).
We learn from John again and again that Jesus is the one who is sent from
the Father to reveal to us the love of God and to instill in us a belief in
the Person of Jesus who is one with his Father. Jesus, in this Gospel, is
God’s Apostle or the Apostle par excellence. We listen to his words, ” I
did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” Jesus tells us he is
the light of the world and that the darkness cannot overcome that light.
We pray for an increase and deepening of our faith in him so that we may be
enlightened and bring the light of the Gospel to others. We are called
each day to witness to his Person as the Word and Son of God and to tell of
his good works to the world. We pray with our Psalm response: “O God, let
all the nations praise you.” Amen. Alleluiah!