Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 11:19-26; John 10:22-30)
More is known about Jesus than just about any other person of antiquity. Yet like the Jews of today’s gospel, we want to ask him, “Who are you?” The Jews have a sense that he is their long-awaited Messiah or Christ. He works wonders and his words can galvanize people. Yet he does not seem to be organizing a militia as they might expect. Jesus responds to their query in an enigmatic way. He says that he and the Father “are one.” Is he saying that he is actually God?
The Church teaches that he is. But this doctrine did not become clear until more than three hundred years after Jesus’ death. Probably experiences like the conversion of non-Jews in the reading from Acts contributed to it. Jesus was not just the Jewish Messiah calling Israel together as a nation. He had an appeal to other peoples as well. He came to bring the whole world together in peace.
We know the answer to our question. Jesus is our Lord and God. He comes to us as a brother to unite us to all humans under his Father’s care. The gospel passage emphasizes that Jesus’ self-revelation takes place in winter. That detail aids our sense of his identity. He is the burning light that overcomes the cold and darkness of hatred among peoples.