The Gospel according to John (3:31-36)
“The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven [is above all]. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.”
Reflection: How many times have you heard these words, “I want to speak to your manager”. I have been on the receiving end of that request. My first reaction was usually annoyance because my work was being questioned. It felt like my credibility was being questioned. Often, my manager would back up what I had told the customer and they would usually walk away satisfied that they had verified I was correct. Although it did bother me at times, I understand how sometimes people want an assurance that what they are doing is authentic and accurate.
Jesus, from day one, struggled with establishing his credibility. The day he was baptized Jesus was identified as the son of God. As he began his ministry, he performed many miracles and spoke and taught like no one before him. And he often said that he was sent by the Father and spoke for the Father. Despite all the signs that he was who he said he was, people struggled to believe. Why? What were the obstacles that prevented them from accepting the reality in their midst. The messiah was among them proclaiming salvation and forgiveness of sins.
It is easy for us to judge those who struggled with the coming of the Kingdom of God in Jesus. There are far too many reasons to write about in this brief reflection, but one might be that this was too good to be true. After generations of waiting and the expectation of an earthly kingdom it is understandable why it took so long for people to accept the gift right in front of them. Do we struggle with accepting the mercy and love of God because we have been down so long or because our expectations are different than God’s? Do we question our faith, doubt God and ourselves to the point that we do not recognize Jesus’ real presence in our lives? Welcome to life as a follower of Christ. We all struggle. Some more than others. But the one whom the Father sent, who speaks for the Father, is meek and humble of heart. He is patient and understanding. He does not ration the gift of the Spirit.
Take heart, stand firm, persevere. Jesus is in our midst. Believe and receive the gift of eternal life. Amen.
Action of the day: Make time this week to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Most churches have a holy hour or access to their Blessed Sacrament Chapel/Area. Sit in his presence and thank him for all he has and continues to do for you. Thank him specifically for the gift of eternal life and pray for the grace to love others as he loves you.