Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Ezekiel 37: 21-28 Psalm 31:10, 11-12ab, 13 John 11:45-57
In the Gospel of today, we hear the tone of imminent violence, destruction and the decision to take life which tells us that we are approaching the Passion of Christ. We see the readiness and resolute determination of the council (the power of darkness) to annihilate Jesus the giver of life for no just cause. Jesus who worked signs and wonders among the people instead of receiving his message with faith he was denounced by some of the Jews to the authorities. The authorities who were also desperate with the ultimate concern to preserve the life of the nation and the temple decide to put Jesus to death (the author and source of life). They sort to kill Jesus because he performed many signs and was attracting large followers and perhaps was feared to be a possible leader of a rebellion which would eventually lead to the destruction of the nation.
As the people were hostile to Jesus and decided to kill him so also people will be hostile and resistant to his faithful disciples. No wonder Christ told his disciples that if they have called the master of the house beelzebul how much more will they malign those of his household and that the disciples should not fear those who can only kill the body but rather fear him who will destroy both body and soul in hell (Mt 10:25, 28).
Those who do good and live by the truth are always despised, misunderstood and persecuted. This is crystal clear in our families, our communities, our countries and the world at large. But we should not get tired of doing what is right as St Paul encouraged the Thessalonian community (2 Thess 3:13) even amidst the rejection and persecution that comes our way. Some of us today may be going through unnecessary and unexpected difficulties inflicted on us by others just because we are doing what is right; just because we assisted others, just because we stand for justice; just because we give no room to compromise; just because we are different. Let it be known to you that our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers of darkness. Let it be known to you today that not everyone will accept you, not everyone will love you, not everyone will appreciate your gifts but never cease doing what is right as our master and savior Jesus Christ did.
Let the example of Christ be our hope for the journey. He went to the Cross in order to give meaning to our suffering. When we suffer in the name of Christ, then, our suffering derives its deepest and most coherent meaning. May the Good Lord give us the grace this day to be his authentic and credible disciples amidst all difficulties and challenges that we may face in our earthly pilgrimage knowing fully well that after pain comes gain; after the cross comes the crown and after death comes resurrection and glory.
Let us pray God our Father, as we are moving toward the passion, death and resurrection of your only begotten Son; grant us we beseech thee the grace to carry our crosses and follow Him. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.