Thursday, March 22, 2012

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Jesus moved about within Galilee; but he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. When his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but (as it were) in secret. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, "Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah? But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from." 

So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, "You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me." So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come. (John 7: 1-2,10,25-30)

Introductory Prayer:Lord, thank you for your constant love. Thank you for challenging us even at the risk of our rejecting you. Help me, Lord, to follow your example and steadfastness in bringing your message to others.

Petition:Christ Jesus, I believe in you. Increase my faith!

1. Who is the Christ I know? Where is Jesus from? Where is he going? These were the questions that Christ’s contemporaries had to grapple with—the same questions that we must ask ourselves. Is Christ a real authority in my life? Do I give him my trust? Do I always recognize him? Do I understand him? Many in Jerusalem thought they knew where he was from (Galilee) but didn’t know whom he is from (God). Is my knowledge of Christ still very superficial? Like the Jerusalemites, am I willing to give my ear to Christ just so long as he doesn’t challenge my preconceived ways of thinking and acting?

2. How does he reveal himself to me? Christ’s relatives earlier urged him, “Show yourself to the world”. Often we tend to make similar demands on Christ. “If he were to only make his presence more felt in my life,” we think, “then things would be different.” Like the apostles, we often complain to him, “When are you going to speak clearly and stop speaking in parables?” Christ decides to go up to Jerusalem “not publicly but in private”. Still, many were aware that he was in Jerusalem, although “the Jews” were not. Christ comes to make the blind see and show himself to them. Do I see him? How does he tend to reveal himself to me?

3. Do I go to the temple without encountering Christ? Every year during the Feast of the Tabernacles, the Hebrews would make a pilgrimage to the Temple, reciting: “Our fathers when they were in this place turned with their backs toward the Temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they worshiped the sun toward the east [see Ezekiel 8:16]; but as for us, our eyes are turned toward the Lord.” They journeyed for miles to celebrate their fidelity to God, yet did not recognize the One he sent, Christ who was in their midst. My union with Christ who is present should be the reason for my worship. How often do I let distraction or a “bad liturgy” rob me from encountering him. As I approach the altar for Communion, am I really aware of whom I am going to receive? Am I willing to prepare my soul’s disposition to the best of my ability so that his presence might be fruitful?

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, it is so easy to let my eyes wander away from you and to get caught up with externals. Like Peter on the sea, I need to learn that all my fears overcome me once I take my sight off you and put it on the circumstances that surround me. I will try to keep my eyes fixed on you, a gaze that lasts.

Resolution: Lord, I promise to make a visit to you today in the Tabernacle and thank you for being present to me there.

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