Commentary on the Gospel of

Tom Quinn-Creighton University's School of Medicine

The remaining apostles and about one hundred and twenty others stood around Peter. He had an announcement to make. It concerned the replacement of their former companion, Judas, the “guide to those who arrested Jesus”, the one who Jesus refers to as the “son of destruction” in the gospel for today.  From our modern perspective, it seems that Peter proceeded much like the chair of a meeting.  He quoted the “by-laws”: “The replacement must be one who had been with them from the baptism of John to the day that Jesus was taken up from us.”  Two men were nominated for the position; Joseph called Barsabbas, or Justus, and Matthias.  They drew lots, and Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.  


Joseph, the man not chosen to be one of the twelve, was never-the-less, truly a blessed person.  He had been with Jesus and the apostles during Jesus’ entire public life.  It is possible that he felt some disappointment when he was not chosen.  All of us share with him some instance when we feel a sense of loss when we are not selected for a position, or rejected for membership in an organization.  When we put these situations in perspective, as Joseph must have done, we see the obvious blessings that God continues to shower upon us.  We may even see more clearly what our true mission in life is.  All is never lost; as the psalm for today reminds us, “…forget not his benefits.”


Parts of the second reading (1 Jn 4:11-16) often recur in Christian hymns, on banners, and in Christian discourse in general. This short passage ends in a rational, eloquent summary: “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”  Whether sung, quoted, or contemplated each day in prayer, the message is complex, yet direct. Love, and remain in the presence of the Lord. This is a joyful and gentle reminder. How can we keep from living this message?


Imagine the upturned face of Jesus as he prays the one long prayer to the Father that makes up the entire gospel for this Sunday. This moment in Jesus’ life reflects not only his love for the Father, but also, his one-ness with him.  Jesus also prays that we will be one with him.  We are no longer of, or belonging to the world; we remain in it, now protected by God from the evil one.


Jesus prayed, “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.”  We are consecrated by Jesus in the truth.  Spread the message that God and his truth is love, and whoever remains in love, remains in God. We have been given not only a sense of belonging with God, but also a mission to be in the world to spread his word. We do have a mission for him, with him, and in him.


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