Scripture: Lectionary 282. Acts 13:13-25. Psalm 89:2-3.21.25-27. John 13:16-20:
Paul continues to preach and teach, but this time it is in the synagogue at Pamphylia. John, the son of Zebedee returns to Jerusalem where ,within a short time, the first council of the Jerusalem church will take place. Paul will be there.
In his being invited to comment on the Scriptures, Paul begins with a history of salvation. He chronologically takes the listeners through the passages of the Old Testament that lead up to the time of Jesus and the Baptist. We end today with his remarks about John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus. John is so honest and humble that he remarks he is not even worthy to untie the strap on Jesus’ sandals. This is a good lead in idea for the Gospel which follows the action of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, his apostles.
John the Baptist declares openly “I AM not the Messiah.” This contrasts with another I AM statement of Jesus at the Last Supper where Jesus has finished washing the feet of the apostles. Jesus’ I AM statement stands by itself but leads us into understanding the role of the apostles after he leaves them and our role as disciples of Jesus. It always consists in doing the will of the Father and we know what that will is by the words and actions of Jesus given to us so clearly in all of the Gospels. The Lord’s Prayer is our prayer for doing the will of the Father.
We learn from Jesus that his apostles will be sent in his name as ambassadors of the Good News that Paul will eventually preach as we learn from the first reading. They will be sent and even sometimes received and welcomed as Jesus’ emissaries. Let us follow their example and listen to Jesus’ words which are not addressed to us: “I solemnly assure you, he who accepts anyone I send accepts me; and in accepting me accepts him who sent me.” We, together with Paul and all the saints, are now sent to those we live with, work with and meet every day. It is a wonderful invitation to carry on the work of the apostles, which is God’s work in Jesus Christ and the Gospels. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.