Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

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

Last week President Obama gave a speech in El Paso, Texas, regarding immigration reform. Much in accord with Catholic bishops he called for ways to legitimize the presence of millions of undocumented workers and their families in the United States. The president’s speaking so near the border to Mexico may be called a media event. That is, the speech was staged not so much for his immediate audience but as a sign to listeners far and wide of the importance of the issue to him. It might be said that Jesus’ message in today’s gospel comprises 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 the Easter season. The celebration so far should have been uplifting, but will anyone say that it is “awesome” or “exciting,” especially those who have already lived through many Easter seasons? This latter group has learned that living Jesus’ resurrected life does not bring many mountaintop experiences. Rather it reassures us that the love which we radiate and find reflected back on us is worth any effort on our part. As much as anything else, this truth will sustain us to the fullness of life promised as our journey ends.