4th Week of Lent
1st Reading: Jer 11:18-20
I knew their plot because the Lord informed me; at that time you, O Lord, showed me their doings. Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.” But, you, O Lord of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!
Gospel: Jn 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.
THE POWER OF THE WORD OF JESUS: The words of prophet Jeremiah causes discomfort among the Israelites. There are those who do not want to hear the truth and so they plot to eliminate him. However he turns to God who is his refuge. In the gospel, we see division following the message of Jesus. Like Jeremiah, there are those who desire to eliminate Jesus. On the other side, there are those who get convinced and converted following his preaching. These ones believe that He is a prophet. Those who opposed him use the justification that Christ cannot come from Galilee. Standing for the message of Jesus, and being a true Christian, may lead to persecution and rejection. Christians need to take refuge in Christ and have courage granted them by the Holy Spirit. May we not be like the Pharisees who reject Christ, but like those that believe.
Prayer: Lord, May I be loyal to your gospel despite being a cross on earth.
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? This is a never-ending quest. In the Gospel of John, we do not have the story of Caesarea Philipi (Mt 16:13-20; Mk 8:27-30), or as in Luke at a time of prayer (Lk 9:18-21), Jesus asking his disciples: “Who do you say I am?” In John, it is a constant question for debate. In fact, even in the judgement of Jesus the question is still unanswered. This is what the gospel text of today narrates. For some, Jesus is a Prophet, for others he is the Christ, but for others like Nicodemus they have some clues to understand that Jesus is the Son of God. Who is Jesus for you? We should never stop answering this question. We should keep looking at Jesus afresh every day.