“He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).
Today’s first reading is full of mixed feelings. First, we see a freighted Paul and Barnabas fleeing for their lives upon hearing a rumour that a combined team of the Gentiles and the Jews were planning to molest and stone them. Wondering what happened to their faith? Why did they not remain and gladly suffer the persecution that was on their way? Simply put, they were fully human.
On the other hand, the same Paul and Barnabas who fled from Iconium found themselves in Lystra preaching the Gospel. There they noticed a cripple who could not use his feet from birth and seeing that this man had faith, Paul said to him: “Stand upright on your feet.” This, he did and immediately Paul and Barnabas were taken to be gods in the midst of men.
In fact, the priest Zeus brought out oxen and garlands intending to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas (the same men who ran for their dear lives in Iconium). To the people of Lystra, Paul and Barnabas had just done something only God can do so they deserved to be worshipped. In truth, God had simply worked through Paul and Barnabas, but the people were not ready to take this.
Funny enough, this is exactly what is happening in our society today whereby our men of God are idolized and worshipped. You may wonder, “There must have been something special about Paul and Barnabas, otherwise, how were they able to work that miracle?” Jesus gives us the secret in today’s Gospel passage: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home in him” (John 14:23).
This is how it works, when we love Jesus and express this love by keeping His commandments, God reciprocates this love by coming to dwell inside of us. So long as God is living inside of us, we would begin to do great works. Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, draw me nearer to you every day. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 14:5-18, Psalm 115 and John 14:21-26).