Gospel: Jn 10:22-30
The time came for the feast of the Dedication. It was winter, and Jesus walked back and forth in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in doubt? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name proclaim who I am, but you don’t believe because, as I said, you are not my sheep. “My sheep hear my voice and I know them; they follow me and I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from me. What my Father has given me, is greater than all things else. To snatch it out of the Father’s hand, no one is able! I and the Father are One.”
What did Barnabas see in Antioch that he recognized as “manifest signs of God’s favor?” Did he see wealth, prosperity, easy life? Although material blessings also come from God, I think what Barnabas saw was a community of people who love each other, who help each other in their needs, who are untiring in their preaching of the Good News, who are fair with one another and who are living in peace with one another. But maybe he also saw afflicted people suffering patiently, sick people surrendering themselves fully in God’s hands, people forgiving each other. I am sure we know how hard it is to build and maintain such a community. We cannot achieve it with only our human efforts. We truly need God’s grace. That is why when we encounter such a community, we know that they are the manifest sign of God’s favor.
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