SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
READ: JN 7:40-53
Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, "This is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ." But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?" So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?" The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man." So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?" They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee." Then each went to his own house.
Throughout John 7, various groups wrestle with the question “Who is Jesus?”. While the people in the narrative debate this question, the believing reader of the Gospel knows the answer by faith: Jesus is the Son, the one sent by the Father. The Catechism teaches that faith is a gift from God, which no one can earn or achieve on his or her own, although it does require a graced human acceptance of this gift (Catechism 153– 55). Our relationship with God is his gift to us. It is worth pausing to praise God for the gift of faith by which we know him personally. Like the groups in the Gospel, we ourselves and others are at various stages of the spiritual life and have different dispositions to religious faith in general. We should pray for ourselves and for others that God will give all of us his grace to know and love him more deeply. Like the father of the possessed boy, who asked Jesus to help his son, we pray, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 24).***
As we approach the end of lent and Good Friday, our faith becomes crucial. Only the conviction that Jesus is God, and that he loves us, allows the Crucifixion to make sense. Only faith, and the love that comes from it, can convince us to stand at the foot of the Cross and die with him. In faith, we can also look forward to the Resurrection and the new life (here and in heaven) that is given to those who believe.
How would you have answered the question "who is Jesus?" at the beginning of Lent? How would you answer that question now?
Why do you think people have such a hard time believing in Jesus? What is your own life prevents you from having faith?
“I do believe, help my unbelief!”. (Mark 9: 24). Where is you faith strongest in God? Where do you need to grow in belief?
R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge. O LORD, my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me, Lest I become like the lion's prey, to be torn to pieces, with no one to rescue me. Do me justice, O LORD, because I am just, and because of the innocence that is mine. Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but sustain the just, O searcher of heart and soul, O just God. A shield before me is God, who saves the upright of heart; A just judge is God, a God who punishes day by day. R. O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge.
How did God challenge you to change in prayer today?
***Martin, Francis; Wright, William M. IV (2015-04-28). The Gospel of John (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture) (pp. 148-149).