Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Have you ever thought about the importance of passports? They provide your basic personal identification but also the origin of the passport and a record of the countries you’ve visited. The passport speaks for you in a foreign land.
Imagine if there were passports in the time in the time of the early Church. How did travelers such as Paul of Tarsus, and Barnabas of Antioch answer questions at passport checkpoints about their occupation and reason for travel? If they called themselves missionaries, who were they representing, themselves or someone else? The first reading today clearly shows that they were set aside by the community and sent by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word of God at the Jewish synagogues.
This sending forth from the community in the power of the Holy Spirit was the great motivator. Paul and Barnabas knew what spiritual energy was behind them and therefore could testify fearlessly and point beyond themselves. They challenged their hearers to make a great spiritual leap of faith.
It is today’s Gospel that provides the nature of the great spiritual leap of faith. Jesus is challenging his hearers. Do you know who I am? Do you know where I come from? God the Father and I are one in a mystery you can’t understand. The works I do and the words I say come from my union with the Father. If you believe me, then you believe the Father is speaking to you, and that means eternal life for you. Not to believe in me is to reject the gift of eternal life.
Reflection: Can you move from habitual faith to a conscious leap of faith? This implies being sent as a missionary disciple either near or far away to share the joy of the Gospel.
Reflection by Fr. Daniel Petsche, OSB