Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Psalm 7:2-3, 9bc-10, 11-12
The Gospel reading of today is teaching us on the response to Jesus’s teachings. After seeing Jesus’ deeds and hearing his teaching, the people were divided in the response to Jesus. It is good to note that the focus of this passage of the Gospel of saint John is to show how Jesus was misunderstood by his contemporaries.
The gospel of today is giving us three categories of responses to Jesus’ deeds and teachings. The first response is that of the crowd, who understood Jesus as mere Prophet, some came to acknowledge Him as the Christ, the Messiah. However, their understanding of the Messiah was just as Davidic Messiah, the one who would come to save the Jews from the dominion of Romans and restore the Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem. They did not see Jesus as the Universal Messiah as Jesus’ himself taught them. Jesus is the Son of God, he is the light, he is the living water, he is Divine.
The second response is that of the soldiers, they were filled with amazement, just like the crowd, while hearing Jesus’ wisdom and teachings but they never dared to take a step forward. Instead, they just went back to express their amazement to the leaders who had sent them.
The third response is that of the leaders. The Pharisees were looking for all means to suppress Jesus from the map even by dodging the Law. But Nicodemus reminded them the Law that they should give Him a hearing before condemning him. Then, they blamed and condemned also Nicodemus, they were closing themselves in their own plan a plotted to kill Jesus by all means.
In our life also, sometimes we can find ourselves in the situation of these three categories of people. Sometimes, like the crowd and soldiers, we see God’s deeds in our life and in others’, by the fact of our mere existence, the beautiful life that God has given us and so forth. But sometimes we fail to give positive response to Him, we fail to embrace a life of discipleship, a life to which Jesus is calling us. He invites us to come to Him, the living water, as we see just in the passage before the Gospel reading that we have read (Cf. John 7:37 – 39). Like the crowd and the soldiers, we might have failed to take a step forward, we rather attributed these God’s deeds in our life and in others to a lower power, as mere fruit of chance or our own efforts.
We might have been sometimes like the Pharisees, who closed themselves to God’s Revelation by blind-folding themselves in front of Jesus’ deeds and teaching and by focusing themselves on a blind literal and superficial application of the Law, without acknowledging the ultimate principle and foundation of all Law which is Love: love of God and Neighbour, as Jesus taught us. In the name of the love for God, they wanted to kill the neighbour: in the name of the Law, they condemned the source of the Law himself: Jesus Christ. By showing us these negative responses to Jesus, the Gospel of John is teaching us that we should give positive response to Jesus by knowing him as He is and by believing in Him. This belief is not passive but makes us embrace and share Jesus’ life in our actual life in this world and more perfectly in the world to come. The response that Jesus is calling us to is the response of Love which is lived in every situation of life as Jesus lived, including while facing persecution.
We might be facing persecution or misunderstanding like Jesus. Some people might just hate us for nothing, just because we do God’s will, some people might take us as pretenders. What is our reaction? Let’s be comforted and keep doing God’s will in our life as Jesus did; for we’ll be rewarded greatly, much greater than the suffering that we have been undergoing. Let’s leave to God the Judgement as the Prophet Jeremiah taught us in the first reading. Let’s pray with the words of the Psalm 7 that we have just heard: “Lord, I take refuge in You”.
In brief, let’s respond positively to Jesus’ revelation, by taking a step forward in our faith Journey, by acknowledging God’s works in our life, by believing in Jesus as our Saviour and redeemer, and by trying to imitate him in our life. As we all know that following Jesus, standing by the truth and living the true love, always entail suffering in many ways. Let’s pray God that He may give us the grace to remain faithful to Jesus and to face the challenges in life peacefully, in trusting that God is our refuge.