4th Wednesday of Easter Season
Acts 12:24-13:5; John 12:44-50
“THE WORD OF GOD continued to spread and grow.” These opening words of today’s first reading invite us to reflect on the situation to which they refer. Many of the thousands of Jews and proselytes who continued to accept the preaching of the apostles had, only a short time before, clamored for the death of Jesus before Pilate. In his first encounter with the public after the Resurrection, Peter bluntly accused his audience they were guilty of causing the painful death of the Messiah sent from God. There was a fresh kind of persuasive conviction in the words of Peter and his fellow apostles so that many of these former enemies of our Lord now were ready to obey his disciples. In following weeks this same response was evoked from thousands of Jews and their gentile associates. Based on the Scriptures the Church assures us that at the end the chosen people will be converted and put their faith in Jesus as the True Messiah.
Here in our State of New York there are many Jews who have preserved the faith of their ancestors. In the 1960s one of the most effective novelists wrote popular novels that presented an accurate and sympathetic portrayal of their life in New York City. Our present Pope made history by visiting the prominent Jewish Synagogue of Rome not long ago, re-enforcing the friendly relations established earlier by Popes Paul and John Paul.
Jesus himself lived as a Jew among Jews and sought to gain the trust of his own people but was unable to do so. The resistance of the leaders of the chosen people was a source of great frustration and anguish to our Lord However, as his words in today’s Gospel state so forcibly, he would never compromise He states his position in the strongest of terms: “What I have spoken does not come from me but from the Father who sent me.” He speaks these words to each of us now, as we offer this Holy Eucharist.