Friday, March 30, 2012

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary [the sister of Martha] and seen what Jesus had done [raising Lazarus from the dead] began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, "What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the Temple area, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?" (John 11: 45-56)

Introductory Prayer:Almighty Father, strong is your justice and great is your mercy. Protect us in the burdens and challenges of life. Shield our minds from the distortion of pride and enfold our desire with the beauty of truth. Help us to become more aware of your loving design so that we may more willingly give our lives in service to all. We ask the through Christ our Lord.

Petition:Jesus grant me the humility to serve and defend the truth.

1. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him. They recognize the signs he is working but they will not accept him on his terms. He is unlike what they expected him to be, so they reject him … period. Their personal preferences, their likes and dislikes, have become the reference point for choosing or rejecting the truth. They have the power to influence the situation, so influence it they will. At the end of the day, truth and justice are less important than their free exercise of power. Humility is a noble virtue because it lives in the truth even when the truth is not easy to serve. Pride threatens a sincere response to the truth since the proud person is more prone to personal interests than serving objective truth. When the two clash, watch out! In our ordinary lives truth constantly presents itself to us as something to be accepted or rejected.

By way of these moral choices Jesus beckons us daily, hourly, to follow him as a witness to the truth about God, about man, about life. Do you not see what power he places in your hands by granting you reason and free will? Will you use this power to serve God or to serve yourself?

2. The Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation. The logic is easy enough to follow if we are unfamiliar with the ways of God. As reasonable as the logic seems, it leaves God out of the equation. Unfortunately they had forgotten their own history and the marvels God had worked on behalf of his people. Remember Gideon? And the young David before Goliath? How about Esther? Their history, our history, is a history of faith because God is in the equation. Faith presupposes reason because grace builds on nature. Now, faith is meant to inform reason about the things of God that reason cannot deduce without this higher source of light: for instance that God is the Trinity. So, when reason will not be guided by faith it will seldom arrive at the conclusions God would have us reach. It is a case of reason being applied “unreasonably” because it closes itself to faith. It has eyes but does not see.

3. So from that day on they planned to kill him. We marvel how they could have arrived at this point. Then again, somehow we understand. When someone refuses to acknowledge the truth, at some point all things are potentially justifiable, even killing someone innocent. Herod once sought to kill the Christ Child because he was a perceived threat to his throne. Here they seek to kill Jesus because he is a perceived threat to their nation. Whether it be the individual or the nation, both conclusions are reached because they refused to recognize the meaning of the signs presented to them – Herod did not acknowledge the significance of the Magi’s journey, and those who are plotting Christ’s death do not acknowledge the message his miracles convey. They have eyes but they do not see.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, I want to follow you as you reveal yourself to me through the Church and in daily life. I know that I am proud and that my pride clouds my vision to the good that you invite me to choose. Help me to mature in humility so that I might be a better instrument of your grace and a better witness of your eternal truth. Mother of all Purity, make my heart only for Jesus.

Resolution: Today I will strive to heed all the promptings of the Holy Spirit that come to me through the promptings of my conscience.

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