Homilette for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

(Acts 11:19-26; John 12:44-50)

A few weeks ago President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University. The address caused some consternation because the university covered up some of its explicitly Catholic images. However, a university spokesperson said that the images were concealed not because they were Catholic but because they were going to be only partly visible. In any case, the president’s speech described the nature of the economy in what may be called a media event. That is, the speech was staged not for the benefit of immediate listeners but to be broadcasted far and wide. In the gospel today Jesus’ address might be seen as a similar media event.

Jesus’ words conclude the first half of John’s gospel sometimes called by scholars the “Book of Signs.” They do not contain any new teaching but rather nicely summarize all that Jesus has revealed of himself so far. Of course, Jesus’ primary message has been that he is sent by God the Father to save the world. The signs or miracles, which punctuate the teachings in the first half of the gospel, testify to the legitimacy of Jesus’ mission.

As this passage marks the midpoint of the gospel so today we come to the midpoint of Easter time. The celebration so far should have been uplifting, but will anyone say that it is “awesome” or “exciting,” especially for those who have already lived through many Easter seasons? This latter group has learned that living Jesus’ resurrected life does not continually bring mountaintop experiences. Rather, it assures us of truth based on love. As much as anything else, this truth will sustain us to the eternity promised at the end of the journey.