March 23rd, 2023

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?”

Reflection: As a child most of us struggle with who we can trust outside of our immediate family. One of the ways our “trust circle” expanded was by watching our parents and loved ones interact with others. If we saw them comfortable with someone then that generally meant we could trust them too. However, the opposite was true as well, if they seemed to be ill at ease, then that would work its way down to us.

This is what seems to be happening in today’s gospel. There is a lack of trust in Jesus because those he is trying to help do not seem to have the trust in God necessary to believe what Jesus has to offer is from God. They do not believe that Jesus is not only a messenger from God, but, even harder, to accept that Jesus IS the way to the Father. The fact that we, as a people, are always a bit skeptical with the unknown is not a surprise. What is a surprise is when we have plenty to go by yet still resist something good because we struggle with trust and pride.

Isn’t it ironic that we can do and say all the right things, appear on the outside to believe yet struggle with our own faith, especially in times of crisis. When we need Jesus the most do we fall back on our tendency to try to do things on our own or rely on our own understanding? There is nothing we can ever do to earn our way to heaven. Jesus offers us a way. How many times did he say that the way to God was through him. In chapter 14 of John’s gospel, in a moment when his closest followers, the apostles, struggle with Jesus’ teaching on how to get to heaven he tells them in verse 6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus IS the way! Do we know the way? And if we do, are we following Jesus to the Father? This journey is not easy. Not only do we have to navigate our way through this world filled with doubt and temptation but we must also conquer our own fears and limitations. However, anyone who has been on this journey, for even a short amount of time, knows that when we get glimpses of God’s glory it is Jesus who stands there with arms wide open. 

Action of the day: We have been in the desert of Lent for over four weeks. What is still holding us back from trusting what God has placed in our hearts? He knows every hair on our head. He gives us all we need to know Him. To God through Jesus! In prayer, meditation, and with a sincere heart, ask for the guidance needed to continue to chip away at the greatest obstacles that impede our journey home.

Audio Reflection:

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