Yesterday, we saw Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus. Today, we see God has chosen Paul (Saul) and Barnabas to spread the word of Jesus among the people of Greece. They visit the various churches, but, in some, they are not well received. The Jews are a hard crowd. They don't want to hear about Jesus. They consider this blasphemy against God. However, Paul and Barnabas are not flustered by this. They basically tell the Jews "Fine, go off and believe what you want. You are denying yourselves eternal life, but whatever...." So, off they go to preach to the Gentiles, who are more than receptive to our friend's message. They joyfully receive this and praise Jesus's name. The Jews, however, still are angry. They try to incite others, who carry more clout in the community, to get rid of Paul and Barnabas. "This can't continue. We must band together and get rid of these two rebels before they stir up trouble." They begin their protest and manage to push Paul and Barnabas out of the city. But this did not upset our two disciples. They accomplished their task and are filled with joy.
Our reading in Revelation and in John shows Jesus as both the Great Shepherd and the Lamb. This can be confusing. How can He be both? It is because these are
metaphors. The Lamb symbolises Jesus's death upon the cross, His sacrifice for our sins. The Shepherd is symbolic of Jesus's love for us, and how He cares for each and every person.
The reading in Revelation gives us a glorious picture of heaven! It inspires hope and feelings of comfort. To think we will all be in heaven with no pain, no infirmity, no loneliness or feeling cast aside.
"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress" (v14) refers to the Christians who were persecuted by the Romans. But, it could also mean those who have survived just about anything. It's our reassurance that no matter what we have suffered through in our lives, it will all be redeemed once we get to heaven. God will know each of our stories. Our sins are wiped clean, and our hearts are made pure. And, forever we will remain a nice human. 😇
Father Greg Friedman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, gives us his reflection on today's readings: https://bible.usccb.org/podcasts/video/2022-05-08-reflection-51
I have chosen a video that really goes with our readings. "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe. It's a song about what we would do when we see Jesus. Will we dance or be so overwhelmed by His majesty that we sit in complete adoration? It gives you something to think about, that's for sure. https://youtu.be/N_lrrq_opng