Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sent Them Off

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
  Acts 13:2-3

I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.  John 12:46-47

"Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes. All of us change in some way and this does us good." — Pope Francis

John helps to underline the mission of Jesus by connecting what is said in this chapter with references to other readings in his own book.  While in many cases, the Gospel writers reference the well-known words and works of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, John, through repetition, reminds us of common themes in his own book.  Overcoming darkness with light.  Connecting the relationship of the divine mission of the Son to the Father. 

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.  What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:3-5

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (3:17)

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”  (13:20)

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. (14:1)

But this is not poetry alone.  Unless these words are put to the test of faith and lived as the Good News, it is just a book.  Thus the Acts of the Apostles follows to remind us that these words must be lived to reach new people whether in Jerusalem, Turkey, or elsewhere.  “The word of God continued to spread and grow.” 

The impulse for the first missionary effort in Asia Minor is ascribed to the prophets of the community in Antioch, under the inspiration of the holy Spirit. Just as the Jerusalem community had earlier been the center of missionary activity, so too Antioch becomes the center from which the missionaries Barnabas and Saul are sent out. 

Where are you being sent off?

Missionary work continues to define the Church.  Medical missions.  Relief missions.  Teaching missions.  Development missions.  Our modern missionaries – through the work of Catholic Relief Services ( help spread the love of the Gospel where it is needed most.

On April 16, 2016, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador, killing at least 350 people, a number that is expected to rise as first responders reach the affected area. This is the strongest earthquake Ecuador has experienced since 1979.

Hundreds more have been injured, and there are reports of widespread damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure. Communications are down or intermittent, further complicating damage assessment and need.

Given the widespread impact, Catholic Relief Services is coordinating with other humanitarian organizations and our partners to determine priorities.

Water, food and emergency shelter will be the biggest needs in the coming days. The people of Ecuador urgently need your help. Your donation will help CRS respond immediately. Please donate by filling out the form below. Visit the web page and give what you can.

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