Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 12:24-13:5a; John 12:44-50)
The prophets and teachers convene to pray in Antioch in today’s first reading. They should not be surprised when the Holy Spirit tells them to separate Barnabas and Paul for missionary activity. From the beginning the Church has had an outward thrust. It not only promotes holiness among its members but also calls others to God.
Today’s gospel gives a couple of the themes of Christian missionaries. Jesus is the light of the world. God has sent him to save humans from condemnation. Those who follow Jesus will have eternal life. Those who reject him will be lost forever.
In recent years the Church’s missionary dimension has been called “evangelization.” With this new name it has an additional focus. Today the Church’s evangelizing activity addresses those for whom the light of Jesus has been obscured. It calls back baptized Catholics who no longer practice the faith they were taught. The evangelizers are people like you and me who act like prospectors entering an abandoned gold mine. Just as prospectors realize that previous excavations left a lot of gold behind, we know that many alienated Catholics will respond if called back to church. We have to show them how Jesus, the light, makes all the difference in the world.