A light for revelations

May 8, 2022

We love getting an “exclusive invitation” to join a group. It makes us feel special. Some folks in Antioch in Pisidia may have felt that way, for Acts says “they were filled with jealousy” when “almost the whole city gathered” to hear Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:44–45). The apostles’ practice of preaching in synagogues was drawing the wrong element to their spiritual home! It’s a natural instinct, but it’s not the one Jesus desired. Not only did Jesus reject exclusivity, he commanded his disciples to make disciples of all nations. In Revelation, John’s vision too features a great multitude “from every nation, race, people, and tongue” (7:9) standing before the Lamb on the throne. We are called to welcome, not exclude. Jesus was just a few weeks old when the same passage from Isaiah that Paul and Barnabas quote was    proclaimed in his presence. Then it was the elderly visionary Simeon, who, taking Mary’s baby into his arms, called him “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32). Paul and Barnabas have taken up that mantle, becoming instruments to spread salvation to the ends of the earth. How appropriate that we hear this Gospel passage on Mother’s Day. Jesus compares himself to a shepherd, guiding and protecting us. He promises the sheep of his flock that he will forever hold them securely in his hand. How fortunate we are who have had mothers who have guided us, protected us, loved us, and held us, who have treated us with the tender loving care of the Good Shepherd. Amen. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2022)

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