March 27, 2020 – Friday 4th week of Lent
Click here for the the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032720.cfm)
The Gospel tells us how Jesus was rejected by his own people. Jesus has to go to Jerusalem in secret in order to protect himself from those who were trying to kill him. Yet, even though he knew that he was in danger if seen in public, Jesus still took the risk to be there among his people. Jesus took the risk to speak the truth and make the truth known to all even though it may cause him his life. Indeed, this is God’s way of making himself revealed to us.
The identity of Jesus of being a Galilean, was not really the issue. It was more than that. Jesus caused turmoil among the powerful leaders in the Jewish society.
Jesus was unconventional who ate and drank with sinners, forgiven them and freed them. He healed the sick and touched the unclean. He preached about a loving and forgiving God the Father. And as Jesus gained popularity among the ordinary people, the leaders were threatened at his knowledge and wisdom because Jesus was not a well-known intellectual and did not come from a rich and powerful family.
Jesus himself and all that he did threatened the status quo of the powerful people who were contented with their comfort, with the power and influence that they were enjoying. These “Jews” who in the Gospel of John were referred as the powerful religious leaders of the Jewish society, preferred a strict and vengeful God because it was on that belief that they could advance their self-interest. They too can use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.
Thus, they were against Jesus because he was changing their ways. Their hearts were filled with bitterness, hate, anger and the desire to have more; in other words, they were filled of themselves, worshipping their very selves. This is idolatry!
These were the reasons why they could not accept Jesus or even recognize the presence of God in Jesus. Because of their blindness and the hardness of their hearts, they did not understand the ways of God. Thus, they wanted to kill him, to silence Jesus.
As we continue our journey in this season of Lent, may this Gospel remind us of our tendency to worship ourselves and our own ideas and beliefs. Let us also make our “home quarantine” days as opportunities to humble ourselves in recognizing areas of our lives where we have become complacent, too comfortable and arrogant. And so in this kind of attitude, we may also come to understand the ways of Jesus and recognize him who is within us and among us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR