Acts 13:44-52
John 14:7-14


Today’s readings focus on the universality of salvation.  Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Pisidian Antioch (in modern Turkey), but there was much controversy about their message among some of the Jews in that town.  Many ‘God-fearers’, Gentiles sympathetic to Judaism, were receptive and Paul emphasizes that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is universal, for all nations.  He cites a verse from the book of Isaiah, from one of the songs of the ‘Servant of the Lord’, which proclaims that the Servant will be a ‘light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth’ (Isaiah 49:6).  For Christians, the Servant proclaimed in the Jewish scriptures is Jesus Christ, through whom and in whom the Father offers salvation to all humanity.   Psalm 97 proclaims that ‘All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God’.  God has ‘made known his salvation’ and ‘shown his justice to the nations’.  All the earth can ‘ring out your joy’ to the Lord since God has offered us salvation in Jesus.  This is emphasized in today’s Gospel: Jesus tells Philip, ‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father’.  The Father is in Jesus as he performs his works of love, as he eats with sinners and heals the sick.  In Jesus, the Father offers salvation to all nations, and all who love God and love their neighbour are responding to the Father’s grace in their hearts. 

Robert Gascoigne is a parishioner at St Brigid’s, Marrickville.  He is a theologian who taught for many years at the Australian Catholic University.