Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

(Acts 11:19-26; John 10:22-30)

In his Mass Leonard Bernstein composes a marvelous tribute to Scripture.  The song “The Word of the Lord” declares that autocratic powers may incarcerate God’s preachers, but they cannot imprison the message they preach.  In today’s reading from Acts, Luke also shows how the word spreads in the primitive church with similar dynamism. 

Followers of Jesus, after being persecuted in Jerusalem, evangelize in other places.  They preach exclusively to Jews, but their converts do not discriminate.  When they come to Antioch, they preach to everyone.  The Greek followers of Jesus cannot be called Jews because they do not follow the Jewish Law.  The entire community – Jews as well as Greeks – must re-identify.  They call themselves Christians.  It is the beginning of a new era for the Church which is still in existence.

If the word of God seems stymied today because of secularism in many Western countries, it has hardly lost its dynamism in Africa and Asia.  It is convincing large numbers of people in these places that Jesus is the way to happiness.  In today’s gospel it tells of Jesus delivering the message: “I give (my sheep) eternal life, and they shall never perish.”