Friday, April 5
Our Christian Witness Becomes One of Controversy in a World So Overwhelmed with Secularistic Thinking, a Thinking in Which Relativism Perverts All That Is Holy and True; and It Is Only God Who Can Strengthen and Save Us.
“With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death” – words which draw us ever closer during this Lenten season to our Lord’s Passion.
In our First Reading today from the Book of Wisdom, which was written some fifty years before the birth of Christ, we can find within its words a message that is very prophetic in nature, for it alludes to the Gospel Readings upon which we have been reflecting over the past few days.
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.”
And have we not witnessed this tension which existed between our Lord and the Jewish authorities, a tension which will culminate in our Lord’s eventual betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of Holy Thursday?
In our Responsorial Psalm, it speaks of the Lord confronting “the evildoers”, and that is exactly what we witness Jesus doing with the religious authorities of His day, all as a result of their ego, pride and misguidance of the Jewish people.
Just as we have read over the past few days, so too, in today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to dialogue, debate if you will, with the Jewish authorities, only this time, it is during the Jewish festival called the Feast of Tabernacles (also called the Feast of Booths).
It was an annual celebration which lasted for seven days, and commemorated the story of the Israelite’s journey through the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt and living in huts or tents, thus the word “Booths”. This was considered a very holy feast, to which every adult male was expected to be present, and it was observed with special sacrifices made each day in the Temple.
It was during this time that Jesus confronted the Jewish authorities once again about the fact of their own spiritual blindness – the fact that they do not know the One who sent Him, and that they were unable or unwilling to accept the words of Truth that Jesus was speaking, for it challenged their idea of self-importance and their teaching authority over the people.
As a consequence, just as we have been reading in John’s Gospel that Jesus was calling Himself the obedient Son of the Eternal Father and making Himself equal to His Father, those who were in authority over the Jewish people – and who were spiritually blind – would declare that Jesus was blaspheming, a crime punishable under Jewish law by death.
In the world in which we live today, it seems that spiritual blindness is all around us. Saint Thomas Aquinas once wrote in his Summa Theologica that the cause of spiritual blindness is a result of the malice that resides within one’s heart. And is that not what we find in our First Reading today – a malice which desired to persecute “the just one” from God?
Today, we have politicians who are reinterpreting the words of the Gospel to suit their own purposes; we have judges and legislators who refuse to acknowledge the sanctity of life in the womb; we have people in positions of authority who are rewriting the marriage laws to legitimize same-sex unions, thereby setting aside the Natural Law which was the guiding element behind the institution of marriage for millennia – for thousands of years.
And we have extremists who murder and maim, all in the name of their god. And this list of atheistic and secularistic behavior goes on and on – and all those who contribute to these sad atrocities suffer from true spiritual blindness, a hardening of the heart in which God’s Truth is no longer recognizable by the lives they live and the standard of behavior they portray.
In truth and in sadness, they do not know Jesus, nor do they know the One who sent Him. But, for each one of us who truly knows our Lord and lives His Truth in our daily lives in all that we say and do, our Christian witness becomes one of controversy in a world so overwhelmed with secularistic thinking – a thinking in which relativism perverts all that is holy and true.
It is for this reason that we, who embrace our Lord’s teachings, must continue to pray. It is for this reason that we must continue to reach out to the One who sent our Savior, the One whom we know as our Eternal and Most Loving Father and implore His Divine Mercy upon each of us and upon the whole world – for it is only God who can strengthen and save us from the shadowy darkness which surrounds and assaults us daily.
Let us take heart in the words which we find in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “When the just cry out, the LORD hears and rescues them from all distress.”
In faith, God will hear us! In the fullness of time, God WILL rescue us! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training. He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.” (Wisdom 2:12-13)
- “Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death.” (Wisdom 2:17-20a)
- “The LORD has eyes for the just and ears for their cry. The LORD’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth. When the just cry out, the LORD hears and rescues them from all distress.” (Psalm 34:16-18)
- “…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.” (John 7:28c-29)
- “Every one who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
- “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.’” (Matthew 16:24-27)
- “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven!” (Matthew 7:21)
- “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord, Almighty God,
Let everything I do this day
and throughout this season of Lent
be inspired by You, for I long to be closer to You.
“Guide me in my life of faith;
strengthen me and help me to remember
that nothing is important in life,
unless it truly glorifies You in some way.
“Enlighten my heart and heal my imperfections,
so that I may become a sign of Your Light
in a world filled with shadows and darkness.
“Help me to always rely on You for help,
so that I may reach towards perfection in my own life,
the perfection which unites myself to You.
“Help me to live this season with humility and love,
and become the extension of You in all whom I meet,
for, only in this, will I truly live Your Love in the world.”A Lenten Prayer (anonymous author)