The Gospel according to John (5:31-47)
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Everyone deserves a pat on the back, once in a while. Recognition for a job well done or progress, reaching new goals or simply maintaining one’s place on a difficult journey is appreciated. On the other hand, we may all know the sting of words filled with malice used to harm or destroy another’s will. As a child I would beam anytime I was praised and cower when chastised. After a while it seems that our motivation for praise or criticism is what drives or motivates our choices and behaviors. We become people pleasers or adept at avoiding controversy at the cost of being who we really are.
In today’s gospel Jesus is struggling with authenticity, not his own but with people’s perception of what is true and real. God had chosen a people to accompany, guide, nurture, and love. But like so many of us they could not keep their promise. Never the less God continued to be faithful even though they were not. Then, in an attempt to reach them in a way both expected and unexpected he came to be among us, one of us. But we could not handle it. We chose to stick with our plan and how we were convinced it should be. I have gone from the past to the present with our lack of fidelity because we continue to struggle with wanting to do it our way. After more than two thousand years we keep on tripping over each other and ourselves reaching for what is convenient and self-serving. What is it going to take for us to see the gift that is right before our eyes???
When will we see the gift for what it is? The gift of life that goes far beyond our struggles during our time here on earth. We can never earn or merit it yet there it is, life, forgiveness, mercy, and an inexhaustible well of love. A father who runs to us with arms outstretched ready to forgive when we return home. A brother who is willing to take on the sins of the world, suffer and die alone and abandoned. A presence who exists all on his own and with the Father and Son will never leave us, wants to teach and guide us so that we can have every opportunity we need to experience this gift, every day.
Let’s release whatever is holding us back from taking our Lord and savior Jesus Christ in our hearts so that our ongoing transformation can deepen our awareness of how much God loves us. Sincere human praise is only a glimpse into how pleased God is that we exist. One day soon we will all be in the presence of the true light where we see God face to face and see ourselves as He created us, as His sons and daughters to be loved.
Action of the Day:
In prayer and throughout the day allow yourself the awareness of how deeply and passionatley God loves you. You are the apple of His eye! Revel in that bliss and never be the same.