March 28th, 2023

The Gospel according to John (8:21-30) 

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away and you will look for me,
but you will die in your sin.
Where I am going you cannot come.”
So the Jews said,
“He is not going to kill himself, is he,
because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in your sins.
For if you do not believe that I AM,
you will die in your sins.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.
I have much to say about you in condemnation.
But the one who sent me is true,
and what I heard from him I tell the world.”
They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.
So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. 
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”
Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.


As I was pondering today’s Gospel, I kept coming back to the truth that is evident in this interaction we read about between Jesus and the Jewish leaders (the scribes & Pharisees): they were so clearly missing the point of what Jesus was saying to them.  It’s almost as though they were not speaking the same language at all.

A somewhat off-base situation in my life was like that.  I was in my junior year of college, taking the one tough course in my major (Information Systems).  It was viewed as the class in the curriculum that weeded out those who finished their degree from those who changed to an easier (or at least, a different) major.  I was struggling, and it was as though what was asked of me in this course was being told to me in a language that I did not get at all.  Looking back, I was like the scribes & Pharisees as I was being told things, but not in language that I understood.

I think part of that was just because Jesus was unique in that He alone was fully human and fully divine.  He had access to knowledge that the rest of humanity can’t even aspire to reach.  It amazes me that He was able to (in the end) get through to those who were not the most learned (hardly), and who were not the most obedient.  Those who were His chosen followers were fallible human beings in every sense of the word.  The truth is that they did not have to understand.  They just had to trust and have faith.   Those scribes and Pharisees had neither of those characteristics.

For you and me, who only know Jesus through the Spirit in our hearts, and through the words we read about Him (and our experience of Him in the Sacraments), we are called to trust and to have faith that we don’t have to know.  We just have to ask the one who does to be with us.  Can we do that?  Can we lay down our own will and desires for those of Jesus?  That’s the mission of each of us who are His followers, during Lent and everyday of our lives.

Action for the Day:

Is there something in your life that you are struggling with, or feel like you’re just not on course somehow?  Pause today and ask Jesus to show you His plan for that, and that He may also give you the desire to hand it fully over to Him.

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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