Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
Psalm 11:4, 5 and 7
The Gospel of John was written so that we may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). Just as John said earlier that Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples which were not written in his Gospel, today’s Gospel passage states that there are many other things that Jesus did, but that all the books in the world could not contain them. This gives us some indication of the breadth and depth of Jesus’ actions (Ephesians 3:18).
Today’s Gospel passage also puts us on guard against vain curiosity and vain speculation about the future. When Peter asks what will happen to John, Jesus tells him not to concern himself with this and that what is important is that Peter follow him. This does not mean that we shouldn’t care about others or their salvation. It is a reminder, though, that ultimately God is in charge and we only collaborate with him. If we are docile to his will, God will show us the path that leads to life in Christ; the Holy Spirit will guide us along that path that leads to salvation.
We can also see today that, in Christ, God’s revelation is complete. God has said everything in his Word, Jesus Christ, and there will be no other word than this one. “No new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum, 4). Even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full meaning over the course of the centuries (CCC, 66). Private revelations do not belong to the deposit of faith; they do not improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but help to live more fully by it in a certain period of history (CCC, 67).
The Gospel was handed on to us orally and in writing: orally by the apostles who handed on what they received from the lips of Christ or at the prompting of the Holy Spirit; in writing by the apostles and others associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing (CCC, 76). Sacred Scripture, then, is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit (Dei Verbum, 9).
We welcome God’s Revelation and respond to God in faith. Our faith comes what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ (Romans 10:17). This is why Paul asks in the Letter to the Romans: How can we hear this word without a preacher and how can we preach without being sent?
Paul, we see in the first reading, uses every opportunity to preach the Gospel of Christ. Before his journey to Rome, Paul defends himself before the Roman Governor Festus and King Herod Agrippa II and during his defense he challenges the king to respond to his message that Jesus is the Christ. If Herod believes in the prophets, then what does he say to their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. When Herod dodges the question, Paul says that he will pray to God for him that he becomes a believer in Christ, for Paul desires the salvation of all who hear him.
After a very eventual trip, involving hurricane force winds and shipwreck on the Island of Malta, Paul arrives to Rome, where he is able to give witness to Christ for over two years. He was under house arrest during the first two years of his time in Rome, but could receive visitors. He first encounters the Jewish leaders and explains why they should listen to him: “first, he remains a loyal Jew, having done nothing against his people or their ancestral customs; second, he is not a criminal by Roman standards, and for this reason the Romans wanted to release him; third, it was only because of objections to his release by Jews in Jerusalem that he was forced to appeal to Caesar” (W. Kurz, Acts of the Apostles, Baker Academic, 382).
Paul spends all day bearing witness to the Kingdom of God and trying to convince the Jews about Jesus. He shows how Jesus fulfills the entire Old Testament – the law of Moses and the prophets. Some Jews were convinced; others were not. After preaching first to the Jews, Paul once again turns his attention to the Gentiles: “Let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen”. During those two years under house arrest, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught all who came to him about the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the Easter Season comes to an end, we thank God for all he has done for us through his Son Jesus Christ. We were poor and miserable and enslaved by sin. Now, our high-priest, the Lamb of God, has released us and bestowed divine sonship and eternal life upon us. He intercedes for us in heaven before the Father and prepares a place for us in the Father’s house. Each day we are called to grow in our knowledge of God and love for him. We grow to the degree we allow God to reign in us and work in us and through us.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].