From the Word of the Day
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (Acts 13: 48)
Paul and Barnabas are sent by the Church of Jerusalem beyond its confines to bring the news of the Resurrection. It was not easy to conceive of this missionary project. The wisdom of Barnabas is a guarantee to contain the strangeness of Paul. Notwithstanding the good proof he has given of himself, it is hard for the first community to trust Paul, who was at first a great persecutor and now is a great preacher. We can well imagine that the account of the Acts as to the underlying reasons for hesitating to send Paul on the part of the Jerusalem community are not as they present them. Paul is an uncomfortable person. It is difficult to reason with him because he speaks from a different perspective and another theology animates his conscience and his preaching of Christ.
But the Church was not destined to be identified only with the Jerusalem community and Paul and Barnabas had truly received an investiture from on high.
God’s grace always overcomes the weaknesses and fears of human beings. The journey of Paul and Barnabas is beyond human reasoning and becomes the first true and proper evangelization. The Church continues to generate itself from them according to a new geography that knows distant horizons. Every land brings forth new vocations to love Jesus and His Kingdom. The Church grows and becomes the house of mercy. It multiplies, and its doors do not know exclusion. The pagans rejoice; believe; and their heart and mind are transformed into God’s image.
Lord, today there are other confines to overcome. They are no longer geographic but ideological. If many walls are knocked down by Your mercy and the hands of men of women of good will, others are erected to divide and cause suffering. Do not allow any other new wall to let intolerance or indifference to prevail in us. Let Your Church be for everyone the house of mercy.
The Voice of Pope Francis
The Church is the house of mercy and is the ‘ground’ where vocations germinate, grow, and bring forth fruit. (Message for the 53rd Day of Prayer for Vocations, 2016)
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Comment by Sr. Silvia Biglietti, FMA